Copyright 2015; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Clifford Nwechefom (20) and Jamie Burridge (6) celebrating the night's first goal by James Jones.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - - Three first half goals led the Wilmington University men's soccer team to its sixth straight victory, winning a crucial East Region matchup, 4-0, at Bridgeport on Tuesday night at Knights Field.
The win was the Wildcats' (9-1) sixth straight, fourth by way of shutout. Earlier on Tuesday, the Wildcats moved up a spot in the latest NSCAA East Region Poll, settling in at No. 4 while Bridgeport (7-3) was ranked No. 5. Tuesday was the team's fifth shutout of the season.
"Tonight was a great win for us," head coach Nick Papanicolas said. "We scored goals at crucial moments to help relieve the pressure that Bridgeport was putting on us. The substitutions we made in the second half really helped us sustain our play. I'm really proud of our team."
Like a storybook, the Wildcats split the first half into three part; the beginning, the middle, and the end. Clifford Nwechefom started the half with a quick goal, scoring his eighth of the season in the fourth minute, burying a shot underneath the crossbar from atop the 18-yard box. Jamie Burridge earned the assist on the play.
Josh Fawssett headlined the middle of the first half, scoring in the 27th minute on a through ball from Lance Berry, beating Purple Knight goalkeeper Daniel Coviella for the 2-0 lead 26:36 into the match.
Kristofer Michael capped the first half with only three seconds remaining, as the Wildcats hurried to get a corner in before the final whistle. Joe Boulter got the corner off with 10 seconds to play, and after the ball bounced around in the six-yard box, Michael found the back of the net to make the score 3-0.
The Wildcats out shot the Purple Knights, 8-3, in the first half despite losing the corners battle, 5-4.
Out of the break, the Wildcats jumped on the Purple Knights early once again, adding to their lead just 2:16 into the second half.
Nwechefom was as it again, taking over the team lead with his ninth of the season on a turnover by the Bridgeport defense. Nwechefom beat the goalkeeper low to give the visitors a 4-0 lead.
Bridgeport had a pair of opportunities in the first half, getting a goal wiped off the board early and having a ball cleared off the line by the Wildcats' defense.
Wilmington out shot the Purple Knights, 12-7, for the match but the Purple Knights earned more corners, 7-4. Frank Hall recorded four saves in goal for the Wildcats for his fifth shutout of the season while a pair of Bridgeport keepers did not record a save in the loss.
The Wildcats remain on the road for one more contest this week, returning to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference action with a game on Saturday. The Wildcats head to Nyack in part of a CACC doubleheader, with the men beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m.