NEWARK, Del. - - For the seventh time in the past eight years, the Wilmington University men's soccer team has advanced to the CACC Tournament Semifinals, as the top seeded and nationally eighth ranked Wildcats defeated eighth seeded Concordia, 7-4, on Monday afternoon in the First Round at the WU Athletics Complex.
The top seeded Wildcats (17-1-1) have now reached the CACC Tournament Semifinals in all but one year since starting the streak in 2012. They advance to face No. 5 Georgian Court on Friday morning at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Connecticut. Georgian Court tied No. 4 Goldey-Beacom, 4-4, but advances on penalty kicks, 6-5.
The contest got off to a fast start, with three goals coming in the opening eight minutes of play. It looked as though the Wildcats, who haven't played since November 2, were off and running, getting a goal in the fifth minute from Shawn Genus. Lorne Bickley and Fredrik Bentdal connected for a cross, and Shawn Genus went up high to head it home just 4:20 into the contest.
But Concordia (7-11) answered right back with a free-kick goal from just outside the 18-yard box as Dennis Limani blasted home a shot to the near post to tie the match, 1-1, 5:57 in.
NCAA Division II leading scorer and recently named 2019 CACC Player of the Year Lorne Bickley gave the Wildcats the lead right back, finishing home a cross from Shawn Genus just 7:13 into the contest. The Wildcats then put the pressure on Concordia for the rest of the half, but Clipper netminder Mikael Varin came up with seven saves to keep his team in it, only trailing 2-1 at the halftime break.
It looked as though the Wildcats were going to put the Clippers away early in the second half, as Abdul Mansaray received a long ball from Gabriel Prgomet, split two defenders and raced in for his 15th goal of the year in the 56th minute.
Lorne Bickley then followed with his second goal of the game, and fifth point of the day, in the 61st minute, volleying home a cross from Mansaray for the 4-1 lead. The goal was Bickley's 26th of the year, giving him 55 points to break assistant coach Anthony Allison's (Sargbah Tarpeh) single season record which he set during his senior season in 2009.
The Clippers' never say die attitude kept them in the game however, as they answered with a pair of goals in just over two minutes to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 20 minutes to play.
Mansaray was able to keep the Clippers at an arms' reach though, slotting home a through ball from Shawn Genus, beating the keeper to the ball and finishing on the open net for his 16th goal of the year, 5-3, in the 73rd minute. Joe Bell then gave the Wildcats a two-goal lead once again with his eighth of the year, redirecting a cross from Ben Jordan in the 78th minute.
Concordia tried to keep it close with their fourth goal of the game in the 82nd minute, but Nick Langat finally put the visitors to rest with his first goal of the year, getting a through ball from Ben Jordan in the 86th minute, 7-4.
The Wildcats outshot the Clipper, 29-9, but the Clippers netminder made 12 saves in the game, as well as a team save being recorded on the goal line. The Wildcats also earned more corners, 8-2. Gabriel Prgomet made two saves in the win for the Wildcats.
Friday's CACC Tournament Semifinals matchup with Georgian Court is set for 11:00 a.m. at Municipal Stadium.