Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of a celebration following Velasquez's penalty kick goal at Goldey-Beacom, taken by Frank Stallworth.
NEW CASTLE, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's soccer team secured a home playoff date in the first round of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament next week with a closely battled 1-0 victory over crosstown rival Goldey-Beacom on Tuesday at the Kirkwood Soccer Club.
The win is one of the closest in the all-time series since the Wildcats joined the NCAA ranks for the 2004 season. The Wildcats (11-4-1, 7-3-1 CACC) are now 14-0-1 all-time against the Lightning (9-6-2, 6-4-2 CACC), with the lone tie coming in the 2006 season.
Despite both teams collecting opportunities throughout, it took a foul in the box in the 82nd minute to produce the game's only goal.
Tracking the ball along the Goldey-Beacom back line, Alex Luke was able to step in front of a clear attempt by the Lightning goalkeeper Suhail Bismilla. The ball popped up in the air but remained in the box and it looked as Luke was going to be able to get to the ball with an open net. But Bismilla wrapped his arms around Luke and took him down in the box, produced a penalty kick opportunity for the Wildcats.
In only the team's second attempt all season, senior captain Geoff Velasquez stepped in and calmly put the ball away 81:30 into the match. He has taken both penalty kick chances this season for the Wildcats, converting both of them.
The Lightning had golden opportunities following the goal to tie the match, but Wilmington netminder Vinny Tasca came up with two key saves on breakaways. Daniel Loyo also came up big for the Wildcats, tracking back on the first breakaway to deny a rebound opportunity with an open net for the Lightning.
Tasca recorded his third shutout of the season while making five saves in the game. The Wildcats recorded six total saves in the contest, with one defensive team save. The Lightning goalkeeper made three stops, with the Lightning recording four total saves in the game.
The Lightning outshot the Wildcats, 13-9, including a 9-5 advantage in the second half. Wilmington earned more corners, 7-2, but only recorded one shot off of a corner in the game.
The win secured a home game next Tuesday, November 1, in the first round of the CACC Tournament, as the Wildcats will be one of the top four seed in the tournament. There are still three CACC games to be played on Friday to determine the overall table.
The Wildcats play one of those three CACC games on Friday, ending the regular season on the road at Dominican. The opening whistle is set for 1:00 p.m.