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Wildcats Clinch Fourth Seed with 4-0 Shutout over Georgian Court in Nick Papanicolas’ 100th Career Victory
MSoc: Wilmington 4 - Georgian Court 0
The regular season came to an end for the Wilmington University men’s soccer team on Wednesday afternoon as the Wildcats clinched the fourth seed and a home game in the upcoming Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Quarterfinals with a 4-0 road win over Georgian Court.
Wednesday’s victory was the 11th of the season for the Wildcats (11-5-1, 7-4-1 CACC) but also marked the 100th men’s soccer program victory since joining the NCAA ranks for the 2004 season. Head coach Nick Papanicolas has been at the helm of the Wildcats for all 10 seasons also collecting his 100th career head coaching victory on Wednesday.
“Today’s win is dedicated to all the past and present players and coaches that have helped this program grow to where it is today,” Papanicolas said after the match. The men’s soccer program is now 100-71-22 all-time, good enough for a .575 overall win percentage. Assistant coach Jeff Zoyac has also been around for all 100 of the program’s victories under Papanicolas.
In a must win game in order to host the first round of the upcoming CACC Tournament, the Wildcats came out and scored twice in the first half, before adding a pair of insurance goals in the second half against a shorthanded Lions’ (5-11-1, 2-8-1 CACC) squad.
Senior Tommy Quaranta got the scoring started for the Wildcats by slamming home a rebound off the foot of Vitor Lima at the 23:56 mark of the first half. The goal is a bit of a weight off Quaranta’s shoulder, as he was held scoreless in the Wildcats’ previous seven matches.
Following Quaranta’s goal, the cards started flowing out of the referee’s pocket.
Four yellow cards were given in the final 20 minutes of the first half, three to Georgian Court and one to Wilmington.
That didn’t slow the Wildcats down however, as Elton Joe scored his team leading 12th goal of the season with 1:15 left on the clock before the halftime break, padding the Wildcats’ lead to 2-0. Todd Woll played a ball over the top from the back field, and Joe did the rest once he was behind the defense.
Four more cards came out in the early going of the second half with the final foul and subsequent card resulting in the Wildcats’ third goal. Lima took the free kick and buried hit third goal of the season at the 71:34 mark of the second half, pushing the Wilmington lead to 3-0.
Things got interesting following Lima’s goal, however. A pair of Lions each received yellow cards while another player and the Georgian Court head coach each received a red card and were escorted of the field. Less than a minute later, two more Lions received a red card, leaving only seven field players plus the goalkeeper to finish the rest of the contest.
Sophomore Aaron Brown capped the Wilmington scoring in the 89th minute, tallying his first career goal by knocking in the rebound off the initial shot by Femi Akintunde.
Senior Chad Jenkins earned his first start in goal of the season for the Wildcats, picking up his first shutout while making one save in the 90 minutes. The Lions’ Rylan Gentil recorded 14 stops in the loss.
With the win, the Wildcats clinched the No. 4 spot in the CACC Tournament starting on Monday, November 4. The top four teams host a quarterfinal match with the Wildcats squaring off against No. 5 Concordia at the WU Athletics Complex. The Wildcats defeated the Clippers, 3-2, in their regular season meeting earlier this year, coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the second half.
Monday’s quarterfinal is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.