NEWARK, Del. - - Three goals in the second half propelled the top seeded Wilmington University men's soccer team past eighth seeded Goldey-Beacom, 4-0, in the first round of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament on Monday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
With the win, the Wildcats (14-4) advance to the CACC Tournament Semifinals hosted by Post University in Waterbury, Conn. The Wildcats will play fourth seeded Chestnut Hill on Thursday as a result of Chestnut Hill defeating Philadelphia on penalty kicks, 5-4, following a 2-2 draw.
Goldey-Beacom (7-12) sank into a defensive mode from the opening whistle, with the Wildcats possessing the ball in the backfield for the majority of the first half. The combination play of Clifford Nwechefom and Lance Berry resulted in the Wildcats lone goal of the first half, coming on the second shot of the game by the home team.
Nwechefom settled the ball in the middle of the Chestnut Hill defense and slotted a pass to Berry on the right side of the 18-yard box. Berry's blast beat Lightning goalkeeper Suhail Bismilla for his 12th goal of the season, putting the Wildcats ahead, 1-0, in the ninth minute.
Despite controlling possession for the majority of the half, that lone goal was all the Wildcats could muster. Joe Boulter had an opportunity in the 42nd minute that sailed just wide of the right post and Jamie Burridge was stuffed at the doorstep by Bismilla in the 43rd minute.
Berry found the back of the net in the waning seconds of the half, as the Wildcats had a chance in the corner with 2.5 seconds to play. Berry headed home a cross from Steven O'Connor, but the referee waved off the goal in citing time had expired.
It didn't take long into the second half for the Wildcats to sort out the Goldey-Beacom defense, as Nwechefom scored his 17th of the season just 6:40 after the break. Berry was in the mix again, putting a cross into the box from the right endline. The Lightning got a foot on it, but the ball went right to Nwechefom who blasted a low shot from 15 yards out for the 2-0 lead.
Just more than four minute later, Berry scored his second of the game by converting a breakaway opportunity from Juan Bernal. Bernal corralled a Goldey-Beacom goal-kick and fed Berry over the top for the 3-0 lead 55:50 into the match.
Morgan Shutter capped the scoring for the Wildcats in the 78th minute, putting away his own breakaway opportunity from Joe Boulter.
Frank Hall needed to made a save inside his own six-yard box in the final two minutes of play to record the shutout, his single season program record eighth of the season. He made five saves for the shutout.
The Wildcats is face Chestnut Hill on Thursday at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Conn., on Thursday at 12:00 p.m. Second seeded Post will take on sixth seeded Bloomfield in the other semifinal match following the conclusion of the Wildcats' and Griffins' game.