File courtey of James Jones. Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved.
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. - - The Wilmington University men's soccer team made a second half comeback and then hung on down the stretch to defeat Bloomfield, 4-3, in both team's 2015 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener on Wednesday night at Foley Field.
The backline and goalkeeper Frank Hall was testing earlier and often on Wednesday, getting outside 10-9 in the first half, but Hall came up with four saves in the first half to give the Wildcats (3-0, 1-0 CACC) a chance. Three of his four first half saves came prior to the Wildcats' first goal.
"Our guys stayed composed after giving up the lead right before halftime," 12th year head coach Nick Papanicolas said. "We came out in the second half and picked up our pace and intensity. I'm really proud of our effort tonight. We had come great contributions from the bench tonight as well."
Clifford Nwechefom broke a scoreless tie in the 35th minute for the Wildcats, making the Bears (0-2-1, 0-1 CACC) pay for a costly turnover. Bloomfield starting goalkeeper Jovan Stanojkovic misplayed a ball out of his own box, playing the ball to Nwechefom in the midfield. Nwechefom side volleyed the ball on one bounce, beating the keeper back to the net for the wide-open goal from 35 yards out.
But the Bears responded before the half, scoring a pair of goals on back-to-back shots, just under two minutes apart. Shaunavon DeSouza tied the game in the 42nd minute before Rafique Roberts gave the home team the lead with a goal in the 44th minute.
Out of the halftime break, the Bears kept the pressure on Hall and the Wildcats' defense, but Hall came up with a breakaway save keeping the Wildcats to within a goal. The Wildcats answered just over a minute later, tying the game as Jamie Burridge knocked in his first goal of the season in the 54th minute.
The Wildcats regained the lead 10 minutes later, as sophomore newcomer Alex Luke slammed home a rebound on bobbled ball by the Bears' netminder. Lance Berry directed a free kick on goal which was initially stopped, but Luke was there for his first goal as a Wildcat and the 3-2 lead in the 63rd minute.
Steven O'Connor beat reserved netminder Wilson Cisneros in the 74th inning to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead, which proved to be a much needed mark. Bloomfield clawed back to within a goal as DeSouza scored his second of the match in the 79th minute to make it 4-3.
Hall and the defense held off the Bear for the remaining 11 minutes, as Hall recorded two saves down the stretch to give the visitors the victory.
Luke led all Wildcats with a goal and an assist on the night while Adrian Tash and Lance Berry added assists to round out the point getters in the contest.
In all, Hall made seven saves in goal for the Wildcats while Stanojkovic recorded three in net for the Bears in the first 67:45 of the match. Cisneros did not record a save in the final 22:15 for the Bears.
The Wildcats are off from action for the next six days before they head to East Coast Conference power LIU Post next Wednesday. The opening tip is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in Brookville, N.Y.