Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of the team against Goldey-Beacom, taken by James Jones.
LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - Three second half goals sank the third seeded Wilmington University, 3-2, in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Semifinals as host and second seeded Georgian Court advances to the CACC Tournament Championship for the first time in program history on Friday afternoon.
The Wildcats (12-6-1) held a 1-0 lead at the halftime break before taking a 2-1 lead early in the second half. But the Lions (13-5-1) kept coming back and eventually scored the game-winner in the 77th minute. The Lions advance to their first CACC Tournament Championship game on Sunday and will host eighth seeded Post who defeated No. 4 Caldwell, 4-3, in overtime in the first semifinal.
Friday was a story of two separate halves, with the first being predominately controlled by the Wildcats. After a corner kick set piece was headed off the goal line in the 14th minute, the Wildcats kept the pressure on. Another set piece taken by Juan Bernal bounced in the box and jumped up and caught a Lion in the hand, producing a penalty kick for the Wildcats.
Geoff Velasquez calmly stepped up and converted his third PK of the season, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Manuel Ruiz-Luque had a golden opportunity to make it a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute, but Lion goalkeeper Sebastian Mikuska came off his line for the stop before the rebound shot by Jamie Burridge was cleared off the line as well. The Wildcats went into the halftime break with the 1-0 lead and momentum.
But the Lions came out of the break quickly, tying the match just 1:04 into the second stanza. Daniel Chochlinski knotted the game with a blast to the upper lefthand corner of the goal.
Jester had another opportunity for an insurance goal in the 55th minute, but his left footed shot form the left side curved too much and narrowly missed the far post. That opened the door for the Lions.
Georgian Court's next shot was the game-tying goal, as they got into the penalty area on the right-hand side of the box. Chocklinski's attempt was blocked by Velasquez, but it bounced right to Michael Clarke. His one-time shot went to the far post and into the side netting at the 59:20 mark.
The Wildcats continued to press in the offensive end of the field, but couldn't get a solid opportunity on frame. With the ball in the defensive end, Clarke stole the ball and buried his second of the afternoon in the 77th minute, shooting one underneath a charging Vinny Tasca.
The Wildcats put a pair of shot on goal in the final minutes, but couldn't produce any late game magic.
Lion's goalkeeper Sebastian Mikuska made seven stops with the team coming up with two clears as well. Tasca recorded four saves for the Wildcats.
Today was the fifth consecutive CACC Tournament Semifinals appearance for the Wildcats, but the fourth non-advancement during that time. The only appearance in the CACC Tournament Championship match came in 2014.