Lance Berry’s Double Overtime Goal Sends No. 6 Wilmington Men’s Soccer to NCAA Tournament Second Round with 2-1 Win over No. 3 Post
MSoc: No. 6 Wilmington 2 - No. 3 Post 1 (2OT) - NCAA Tournament First Round
Thursday, November 14, 2013 - Manchester, N.H.
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Sophomore Lance Berry begins to celebrate after scoring the game-winner in double overtime to defeat Post on Thursday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by James Jones
Freshman Geoff Velasquez cuts to the outside just before firing a shot which put the Wildcats ahead 1-0 early in the game on Thursday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by James Jones
Sophomore Lance Berry (23) and senior Tommy Quaranta (9) celebrate the game-winning goal against Post on Thursday. Copyright 2013; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by James Jones
A header off a corner in the second overtime landed the Wilmington University men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over Post in the first round of the NCAA Tournament hosted by Southern New Hampshire at Larkin Field on Thursday night.
Playing its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference rival for the third time this season, the Wildcats (13-5-2) finally figured out the Eagles (15-3-2) and took down the East Region’s No. 3 seed.
Sophomore Lance Berry buried a header off a corner at the near post with 5:50 remaining in the second overtime period, giving the Wildcats and the CACC its first men’s soccer victory in the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m elated,” 10th year head coach Nick Papanicolas said after the victory. “I’m really proud of our effort. Our guys were resilient. We got out to a great start with another early goal against these guys (Post), allowed them to come back, but this time we held them off. Tonight was a full team effort. Obviously Lance (Berry) scored the goal to win it, but the play leading up to it was a hustle play by Jordon (Ellison) and a great ball in by Bruno (Montini), and Lance finished it.
The corner came 4:07 into the second overtime and Montini put a left-footed curling ball to the near post at the six-yard box where Berry went up to head it home into the top near post corner.
“Normally I’m on the back post on that play, but no one was in position for the near post so I saw that and went there at the last second,” the sophomore said of the game-winning corner. “Bruno played a great ball in and I was just at the right spot at the right time.”
But the Wildcats would not have been in that position in the second overtime if it was not for the effort by Joe Woodley never giving up on a play in the second half. After Post’s Terrell Whitting slipped through the back line and attempted to chip Frank Hall who came off the goal line, Woodley raced to the goal line and bicycled the ball off the line, falling hard on his side in the 61st minute to keep it at a 1-1 tie.
The Eagles almost took the lead once again later in the second half, but the ball struck the underside of the cross bar and came right down in front of the goal line, never crossing it before the ball was cleared away.
After a scoreless first overtime which saw Ellison post the only two shots of the 10 minute period, the game was set up for a fantastic finish. The crowd got what it was waiting for.
“I told our guys that they put themselves into the record books,”Papanicolas said of becoming the first CACC team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. “No one can take that away from them. We are proud to represent the CACC. It’s an honor to represent our conference and be the first to get an NCAA win and hopefully our conference will be proud of us.”
The Wildcats earned a bye in the 2009 NCAA East Regional Tournament but fell in their first game of the tournament in the second round.
For the third time this season, the Wildcats struck first against Post with a goal early in the first half. This time it came from freshman defender Geoff Velasquez who tallied his first career goal.
Traveling down the left side, Velasquez cut into the box before returning the ball back to his left foot. His shot across the box deflected off a Post defender and into the back of the net at the near post to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Post was able to tie the game in the 25th minute, however, capitalizing on a mishandled ball by Hall in goal for the Wildcats. It would be the only mistake the sophomore goalkeeper would make in the game. He made four saves in goal for the win.
“It’s about time,” Berry said of finally getting the best of Post after four tries in his two-year career. “After playing with these guys playing for a long time and getting a second chance and finally coming out on top against Post was great. They knocked me out of it (CACC Tournament) twice, this year being one of them, but we got a second chance. This is the greatest feeling.”
The Wildcats survive and advance to play again on Saturday, as they now face No. 2 and host Southern New Hampshire at Larkin Field at 1 p.m. in the NCAA Tournament Second Round. Southern New Hampshire is who knocked the Wildcats out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round in the 2009 season.