Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Josh Fawssett by James Jones.
WATERBURY, Conn. - - A penalty kick in the 96th minute sank the top seeded Wilmington University men's soccer team, as fourth seeded Chestnut Hill came back to steal a 2-1 victory in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Semifinal on Thursday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.
The loss knocks the Wildcats (14-5) from the CACC Tournament and now they will have to depend on the NCAA committee to put them into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament. The NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Selection Show is Monday night at 6:00 p.m.
The Wildcats outshot the Griffins (8-6-3), 23-10, for the match, including a 12-4 outpouring in the second half. But the Wildcats could only find the back of the net once and it came in the 23rd minute of action.
Lance Berry played a cross from the right side, just far out enough that the Griffin keeper couldn't cut it off. He connected with a charging Josh Fawssett who one-timed it past the diving keeper and into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year 22:46 into the match.
The Wildcats outshot the Griffins, 4-1, the rest of the first half, including a pair of shots from Berry that were saved by the Griffins' James Jackson.
The Griffins came out of the halftime break on a mission to tie the game, earning a corner right off the whistle. An ensuing header sailed high before the Griffins' second shot of the half beat Wilmington goalkeeper Frank Hall. Nicholas Jaffe beat his defender and his low shot beat Hall to his right side, tying the match, 1-1, in the 52nd minute.
Following the goal, the Wildcats outshot the Griffins 12-2 in the remainder of the second half, forcing Jackson into four saves. Juan Bernal's rip in the 82nd minute figured to be the hardest save of the half for Jackson.
As the game went into the overtime period, the Wildcats again had more opportunities, as Geoff Velasquez got off a toe-poke shot that Jackson saved and Joe Boulter gave the offense another chance with a corner. But Jackson punched the ball away and the Griffins countered.
Nils Fussen split a pair of Wildcat defenders and got into the box. Trying to shield off Fussen, the Wildcats clipped him and the ref awarded a penalty kick. Jaffe stepped up and converted his second penalty-kick of the season for the game-winner 5:24 into the overtime session.
Hall recorded to saves for the Wildcats while Jackson came away with eight stops for the Griffins.
The Griffins advance to the CACC Tournament Championship on Saturday as they play the winner of the Post/Bloomfield match.
The NCAA Division II Men's Selection Show will be streamed online at NCAA.com on Monday night.