Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by James Jones.
BROOKVILLE, N.Y. - - Following an exhausting second half which featured five goals between the two teams, the sixth seeded Wilmington University men's soccer team didn't waste any time in the first overtime period, as Jamie Burridge buried a rebound opportunity just 30 seconds into the frame to defeat third seeded Adelphi, 4-3, in the first round of the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament on Thursday afternoon at LIU Post.
The win capped the second ever victory in the NCAA Tournament for the Wildcats (15-5), as they also won in the First Round in 2013. This is the third NCAA Tournament appearance for the Wildcats and the team has advanced to the second round in all three appearances. The team earned a First Round bye in their first ever appearance in 2009.
The Wildcats will meet second seeded and host LIU Post on Saturday for the Second Round contest on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The overtime winner wouldn't have come if it weren't for a late match comeback to tie the game, 3-3. The Wildcats scored first, eventually taking a lead into the halftime break, 1-0. But every time the Wildcats scored, the Panthers (13-5-3) followed suit with a game-tying goal, eventually taking a 3-2 lead in the 72nd minute with back-to-back goals. The Wildcats battled back to tie the match, 3-3, in the 77th minute.
Senior Lance Berry led the offense on Thursday, scoring twice while adding an assist on the game's first goal. Berry scored the team's second goal to make it 2-1 in the 56th minute, tied the match in the 77th minute, and then put the blast on frame in overtime that was saved, but caromed right to Burridge.
Clifford Nwechefom got the scoring started for the Wildcats in the 24th minute, as he headed home a hard cross from the right side by Berry. He gave the Wildcats the 1-0 halftime lead as the teams tied, 5-5, in shots.
Adelphi tied the match in the 52nd minute on a header of its own before Berry responded with his first in the 56th minute. Berry had the ball fall right in his lap atop the 18-yard box, as the Panther's goalkeeper and defender knocked into each other on a miscommunication play.
But Adelphi didn't back down, tying the match in the 64th minute before taking its lone lead of the game in the 72nd minute. Caelan Hueber was left all alone on the six-yard box as he chested a ball down to himself before slotting it home.
But Berry responded for the Wildcats, as he was left alone on the back post in the 77th minute, somehow getting a ball at his feet after a cross from Juan Bernal couldn't be cleared.
Adelphi started with the ball in the overtime period, but the Wildcats quickly won possession and fed Berry on the right side with space. He took a low screamer from 30 yards out that was initially saved, but Burridge came charging in to clean up the rebound just 30 seconds into the session.
Vinny Tasca made four saves for the Wildcats, including back-to-back stops from point black range as the first half was coming to a close. The Wildcats led in shots, 13-11, but Adelphi earned more corners, 4-3, in the match.
Saturday's second round game will also be played at the Pioneer Soccer Park and is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. opening whistle.