Freshmen Help Keep Wilmington Lacrosse Alive on Senior Day, Defeating Dominican 16-15
WLax: WU 16 - Dominican 15
Saturday, April 21, 2012 - New Castle, DE
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Senior Rebecca Guethler tallied her 100th point on Saturday and now has 79 career goals and 22 carer assistsSenior Jess Graybeal has started all but one game in four years and has 79 goals and 22 assistsSenior Kory Webster has 66 career goals and 22 career assists in 53 games in four years
A freshman carried the load on Senior Day for the Wilmington University women’s lacrosse team, as the Wildcats remained alive in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoff race, defeating Dominican, 16-15, with a second half surge on Saturday afternoon at the Kirkwood Soccer Complex.
The win kept the Wildcats (9-6, 6-5 CACC) alive for the fourth and final playoff spot, coming into the game a half-game behind Dominican (5-8, 5-5 CACC). Wilmington holds the tie-breaker with the Chargers, having defeated Dominican in each game this season. Wilmington has one game remaining in the regular season while Dominican has two to play yet.
Freshman Megan Keffer, making her fifth start of the year following an injury to senior Kory Webster, stepped up on Senior Day, scoring five goals and coming up with seven draw controls and five ground balls. The Wildcats honored Webster, Rebecca Guethler and Jess Graybeal prior to the game, having played on the team all four years.
Wilmington fell behind early, having to climb out of a big home before heading into the halftime break. Tied at 1-1, the Chargers went on a 6-1 goal streak over a seven minute span to take a commanding 7-2 lead with 16:39 to play in the first stanza.
Following a much needed timeout by head coach Jackie Trainer, the Wildcats snapped dot of it and got themselves back into the game, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Meggan Apgar scored the first of three goals by the Wildcats in a 35 second span to crawl back into the game. Keffer took control of the ensuing draw from Apgar’s goal and raced down the field to score her first goal of the game, only 11 seconds later to make it 7-4 at the 7:41 mark of the first half. Rebekah McCurry made it three straight with her first goal of the game with 7:17 to play, cutting the deficit to two.
After Dominican scored to push its lead back out to three goals, the Wildcats scored twice in the final minute of the half to carry the momentum. Keffer took the initial shot on the play, but it was saved by Charger goalkeeper Veronica Iozzi. The Charger’s Caitlin Murray came in for the ground ball, but Keffer kept on it, forced a turnover, scooped up the ground ball and fired a shot past Iozzi with 25 seconds remaining.
Dominican came back and recovered the ensuing draw, but Gina Sparaco was called for the offensive charge, giving the ball back to the Wildcats with 11 seconds remaining. Ashley Kroll was tripped from behind in front of the goal mouth with three seconds and scored the eight-meter shot with less than a second showing on the board to close the game to 8-7 at the break.
The team’s traded blows in the early part of the second half, but Keffer finally gave the Wildcats their first lead of the game with 22:08 to play. Now leading 13-12 following back-to-back goals by Brittany Rhodes, the Wildcats would succumb to one final push by the Chargers, starting with 9:06 left in regulation.
Dominican’s KC Jentzen scored her fourth goal of the game to tie the game 13-13 and the Chargers rattled off two more goals to push it to the largest lead of the second half, 15-13 with 4:34 to play.
Following another well-timed Wilmington time out, the Wildcats fought back with a final push of their own in the final moments of the contest. Guetler started the rally with a goal off a feed from Liz Case with 3:36 to play to cut it to a one-goal game.
Dominican won the draw but Keffer forced another turnover in the mid field circle and raced down the offensive end , beating Iozzi again for her fifth goal of the game with 3:18 to play, tying the game at 15-15.
Jess Stratton forced another Dominican turnover and Keffer scooped up the ball and took it into the offensive zone, looking for the lead. Following a yellow card to the Chargers, the Wildcats were playing a man-up and converted on the exra man opportunity with 2:18 to play, as Kroll scored her 21st goal of the season off a pass from Guethler and the 16-15 lead.
Dominican got a shot off in the final two minutes of the game, but Traci Muniz’s attempt went wide of the cage and the Wildcats were able to run out the clock in the offensive zone.
Wilmington was outshot, 44-29, for the game, but goalkeeper Kaitlyn Hall recorded 14 saves in net for the Wildcats. Iozzi only stopped seven shots for the Chargers.
Keffer and Dominican’s Jentzen tied for the game high with five goals each. While the Wildcats got two goals apiece from Stratton, Guethler, Rhodes and Kroll. Graybel, Apgar, and McCurry accounted for the remaining three goals for Wilmington.
The Wildcats finish the regular season on Wednesday, April 25 with a night contest at Chestnut Hill. A win would lock up a CACC Tournament berth for the Wildcats. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.