LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - The late season steamroller that has been the Wilmington University women's soccer team ran finally ran out of gas as they dropped the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship match, 4-1, to top seed and host Georgian Court on Sunday afternoon.
The loss snapped an eight game winning streak by the Wildcats (14-6-1) that led them to the number two seed in the CACC Tournament. Sunday was their second ever CACC Tournament Championship appearance, previously winning the whole thing in 2012. The win gives the Lions (16-3-2) the CACC's automatic qualification into the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament.
The two teams played to a scoreless first half, despite the Wildcats leading in shots on goal, 4-3. Krysta Memis opened the shooting for the Wildcats in the first half with a one-hopper off the slick turf that needed to be saved with a dive. The best chance came in the 34th minute, as Melissa Gall's header off a Rebecca Dolhansky corner rang off the post and stayed out.
The second half didn't start as well for the Wildcats, as a Wilmington goal kick ended in the Lions' first goal. Georgian Court was first to the ball in the air off the goal kick, and Heather Arbachesky buried the low shot to Kierstyn Williams' left for the 1-0 lead just 3:03 into the second half.
La'Dae Boykin had an excellent chance to tie the game in the 66th minute, turning with the ball from outside the 18-yard box. She found an opening in the defense and ripped a long distance shot, but it was right at the keeper who made the save. Ashley Cafarella had another chance to tie the game in the 73rd minute, but her half volley was again saved by GCU netminder Natalie Axelsson.
The Lions capitalized on the two missed chances by the Wildcats, turning a hand ball in the Wildcats' 18-yard box into a converted penalty kick goal for the 2-0 lead in the 75th minute.
With the Wildcats pressing offensively, the Lions countered and took advantage of the one less defender on the back line. Dana Fontana ripped a shot form atop the 18-yard box and into the upper corner for a 3-0 lead in the 78th minute.
Loran Wyrough got a shot off in the 79th minute, but it sailed wide left. That turned into another chance for the Lions, as Rosa Franze got in behind the defense on the right side. Williams came out and made a sliding save but the ball bounced right to Fontana on the back post for the tap in goal and 4-0 advantage in the 81st minute.
Boykin got the Wildcats on the board in the 85th minute, blasting a shot from 25 yards out and just under the cross bar, but it was too little too late as they couldn't find the back of the net again. It was Boykin's second goal of the season.
The Lions ended up outshooting the Wildcats, 18-12, for the match, including an 11-7 advantage in the second half. They also earned more corners, 9-1, than the Wildcats. Williams made six saves for the Wildcats while Axelsson stopped seven shots.
The Wildcats went a full month without losing, winning eight straight starting on October 7. Their last loss also came to Georgian Court, 2-1, on October 4.