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Quaranta’s Career Day Carries No. 21 Wilmington Men’s Soccer Past Millersville, 3-2

MSoc: #21 Wilmington 3 - Millersville 2

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - Newark, Del.

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Sophomore Frank Hall improved to 3-0 on the year after making two saves against Millersville on Tuesday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo credit: James Jones.



The Wildcats moved up a spot to No. 21 in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire National Top 25 Poll released Tuesday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo credit: James Jones.



Wilmington University's Tom Quaranta (9) scores his third goal against of the game Millersville University goalkeeper Brad Benzing at the Wilmington University Athletics Complex in Newark, Delaware. September 17, 2013. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Tim Shaffer

On the strength of the team’s first hat trick since the 2009 season, the 21st ranked Wilmington University men’s soccer team defeated Millersville, 3-2, in nonconference action at the WU Athletics Complex on Tuesday afternoon.

Tommy Quaranta (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) continued an excellent start to his senior season, tallying his first career hat trick and the first student-athlete to score three goals in a match since Sargbah Tarpeh recorded three hat tricks during the 2009 season.

Wilmington (4-1) moved up one spot to No. 21 in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division II National Poll released Tuesday, and proved it belonged in the National Top 25 once again with another quality win over its opponent. Millersville (3-1-1), which received votes in the latest National Top 25 Poll, was on the losing end of a match for the first time this season.

The first half saw all the scoring for Quaranta and the Wildcats, as they were able to get on the board late in the seventh minute. Freshman Jordon Ellison started the opportunity with a run into the right side of the penalty box. Ellison’s cross from the goal line found its way through a crowd and to the middle of the six-yard box where Quaranta was able to redirect it into the far corner for the 1-0 lead 6:56 into the contest.

Millersville responded quickly, however, as Andrew Dukes was able to bury a penalty kick to his left side, after Jaime Vazquez weaved his way into the box and was knocked down on the ball. Dukes’ first goal of the season tied the 1-1 at the 9:42 mark of the first half.

Back came Quaranta and the Wildcats though, as Wilmington regained the lead 13 minutes later. On a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box, Quaranta struck the ball low and to the keeper’s right, making Marauder goaltender Brad Benzing dive to make the save. Although he was able to get his hands on the ball, the shot trickled off the goalkeeper and crossed the goal line right before Benzing was able to regain control, giving the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the 23rd minute.

Before his teammates and the fans could settle back into their seats, Quaranta was at it again. Elton Joe won a 50-50 ball and toe tapped the ball head to Quaranta at the 35-yard mark. Seeing his was in on the keeper alone and seeing Benzing come off his line to challenge, Quaranta smartly chipped the keeper to make it 3-1 at the 24:17 mark of the first.

The score remained 3-1 at the halftime break, with the Wildcats holding onto the 9-7 shots advantage as well. Wilmington also took four corners, compared to Millersville’s one.

The second half continued to be a highly competitive match for both squads, as the Wildcats held onto a 5-3 advantage in shots. But it was one of Millersville’s shots that were able to find the back of the net in the 67th minute, cutting the Wildcats’ lead to 3-2.

The Wilmington defense and goalkeeper Frank Hall held strong the rest of the match, as the Wildcats were able to hang on down the stretch and record their second straight victory.

Hall, the reigning Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Defensive Player of the Week, made a pair of saves and moved to 3-0 on the season. Benzing recorded three first half saves but fell to 3-1-1 on the year for the Marauders.

Joe extended his point streak to all five matches so far, with the assist on the team’s third goal of the game. He now has two goals and four assists on the season. Quaranta leads the team with five goals and two assists, totaling 12 points on the year.

The Wildcats return to the road for their next three matchups, as they also return to the CACC for four straight contests. They head to Holy Family on Thursday for an afternoon contest with the Tigers starting at 4 p.m.