LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - For the second time in program history, the Wilmington University women's soccer team will play for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship as the second seeded Wildcats defeated third seeded Holy Family, 3-1, in the semifinals on Friday afternoon on the campus of Georgian Court University.
The win places the Wildcats (14-5-1) in the championship match against top seeded and host Georgian Court on Sunday on the turf field on the campus of Georgian Court. The first kick is set for 12:30 p.m.
Friday wasn't easy however, as the Tigers (14-6) jumped ahead on the scoreboard with the first goal of the game. Cailey Plath caught Kierstyn Williams off her line in the eighth minute, and passed the ball to the middle of the goal where a waiting Shannon Metzler touched it home for the empty netter. The Wildcats trailed, 1-0, just 7:16 into the match.
But it didn't take long for the Wildcats to respond, as their second shot of the game also found the back of the net. Jessica Unsihuay worked the ball to the end line on the left side, playing a high cross towards the center of the box. The Tigers' keeper got a hand on the ball, but it was too high to corral making its way to the far post. Alexa Smalley was there to hammer home the loose ball, tying the game, 1-1, 18:04 into the match.
The team's next shot also found the back of the net, as the Wildcats built a play up from the midfield resulting in the 2-1 lead. Rebecca Dolhansky played a ball out to the left side to an oncoming Alexis Johnson. Johnson found Unsihuay back in the middle who one-touched the ball down the middle to a hard charging Loran Wyrough. Wyrough's left footed blast beat the keeper to her left side, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the 27th minute. It was Wyrough's 17th goal of the season.
La'Dae Boykin had a chance in the final minute of the first half, but her volley sailed high, keeping the score at 2-1 going into the halftime break.
The Tigers came out in the second half and put early pressure on the Wildcats back line, but the defensive unit held strong and ended up only allowing one shot in the second half.
Much of the second half was played between the 18-yard boxes before Unsihuay put the game away in the 87th minute. Off a Dolhansky corner, Unsihuay was the only Wildcat in the box, but she beat the keeper to the ball in the air, heading home her fifth goal of the year for the 3-1 victory.
The Wildcats outshot the Tigers, 8-7, for the match, including a 4-1 advantage in the second half. Williams made one stop for the Wildcats, giving the team their eighth straight victory.
Georgian Court got the better of the Wildcats during the regular season, 2-1, on October 4. The Lions scored in the opening minute and ninth minute of that match before the Wildcats retaliated in the 29th minute. The Wildcats outshot the Lions, 15-11, in the game.
The winner of Sunday's game receives the CACC's automatic qualification into the NCAA East Regional Tournament. The Wildcats are looking to win their second CACC Tournament in its NCAA era, last winning in 2012.