Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by James Jones.
NEWARK, Del. - - The Wilmington University men's soccer team fought off a comeback to defeat the University of the District of Columbia, 4-2, in the final game of the Wildcat Invitational at the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
Senior Lance Berry carried the offense for the Wildcats (2-0), as he scored two goals and added an assist on the final goal to help stave off the Firebirds (0-1-1).
The Wildcats never trailed in the contest, but the Firebirds tied the match in the 34th minute, and again cut the deficit to 3-2 in the 76th minute. The Wildcats managed to quickly answer every attack of the Firebirds, scoring shortly after each UDC goal.
Berry started the scoring in the 16th minute, volleying in a cross from the endline by Jamie Burridge. The cross was just out of the reach of the Firebirds' goalie, tipping off his fingers and going right to Berry on the six-yard line.
The Wildcats dominated possession and the shot chart in the first 33 minutes, but the Firebirds cashed in on their first shot of the game in the 34th minute. Following a service into the box on a free kick, Aaron Noel found the back of the net on the loose ball, tying the match.
Moments later in the 39th minute, Josh Fawssett capitalized on an excellent service from Geoff Velasques for his first goal of the year, redirecting the cross with his head for the 2-1 lead.
Following the halftime break, Berry was at it again as he pushed the Wildcats' lead to 3-1 with an unassisted goal in the 57th minute. Berry bullied his way into the box on a run form the left side, scoring his third goal of the season in the early going.
UDC wouldn't go away, however, as the Firebirds cut the deficit to 3-2 with a goal in the 76th minute, surprising everyone. UDC's Victor Furio passed the ball to the middle of the field, but behind intended target Byron Brown. Brown reached behind him and rainbow kicked the ball over everyone, including Frank Hall in goal, for the mark.
The Wildcats put the game away in the 88th minute though, getting a goal from newcomer Clifford Nwechefom on a break-away. Berry played a long ball over the top, allowing Nwechefom to run onto it for his first goal as a Wildcat.
Wilmington outshot the Firebirds, 10-1 in the first half, but only 16-10 for the match. The Wildcats also took more corners, 4-3, in the game.
Hall needed to make two saves for his second win over the season while Louis Connor made seven stops in goal for the Firebirds.
The Wildcats open Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference play on Wednesday in their next contest, as they head to Bloomfield for a match under the lights. Opening kick is set for 7:00 p.m.