WATERBURY, Conn. - - A fast start by the opposition and an early red card doomed the top seeded Wilmington University men's soccer team in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Semifinals against fifth seeded Georgian Court, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.
The upstart Lions (9-10-1) had two chances in the early going against the eighth ranked Wildcats (17-2-1), scoring on the second opportunity to get ahead in the sixth minute. Then an open field tackle resulted in a red card for the Wildcats' Callum McHale, setting the favorites down a man for the remaining 77:48 of game time.
The loss knocks the Wildcats out of the CACC Tournament, a drought that continues for the Wildcats since last winning the CACC Tournament in 2007.
Despite going down to 10-men early in the first half, the Wildcats outshot the Lions, 8-7, in the first half, including three shots on goal moments after the red card that were all saved. Abdul Mansaray and Shawn Genus also put shots on goal in the first half, but Lion netminder Jamie Hickey recorded five first half saves to send his team into the break leading 1-0.
The first shot of the second half found the back of the net, coming from Georgian Court's Joel Quist to give the Lions a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute.
The Wildcats looked to get back into the game in the 63rd minute, cutting the deficit in half with a goal from Fredrik Bentdal. Shawn Genus was able to win the ball in the midfield and played a pass to the left side to Bentdal. Bentdal's low strike to the far post cut the deficit in half, 2-1, with less than 28 minutes to play.
But just over four minutes later, the Lions truck again to regain a two-goal lead, going up 3-1 in the 67th minute. The Lions countered on a corner kick, racing the other way to score on a 2-on-2.
Then another Lion's goal came in the 69th minute, converting a through ball and a 1-v-1 with the keeper, seeming to put the game out of reach, 4-1, with just over 20 minutes to play.
The Wildcats continued to push however, getting a shot on goal from Taiki Kinugawa and another that went wide by Shawn Genus. Abdul Mansaray was able to breathe a little life into the Wildcats in the 86th minute, converting a corner and recycled play into a his 17th goal of the year. The Wildcats were able to keep the ball in the box after a corner, and Keith Sanderson found Mansaray on the back post for the redirected goal.
But that would be the final tally for the Wildcats, as a shot by Mansaray was saved, and shots by Mansaray and Kinugawa were blocked in the final moments.
The Wildcats outshot the Lions, 19-16, in the match, and earned more corners, 6-4. Jamie Hickey made seven saves in goal on nine shots on goal while Gabriel Prgomet made seven saves on 11 shots on goal for the Wildcats. Mansaray led the Wildcats with four shots on goal.
The NCAA Division II Selection Show is scheduled to go live at 6:30 p.m. on Monday night on NCAA.com. The Wildcats are in a solid position to earn one of the five at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament, but now put their fate into the hands of the Regional Advisory Committee.