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Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Jamie Burridge (1 goal and 1 assist) taken by James Jones.
NEWARK, Del. - - A fast start allowed the Wilmington University men's soccer team to withstand a late comeback effort from NYIT, as the Wildcats opened the 2016 season with a 3-2 thrilling victory at the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The match was highly touted when originally scheduled, as the Wildcats (1-0) narrowly beat out the Bears (1-1) in capturing the final spot in last year's NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament.
Two quick strikes in the early going of the first half allowed the Wildcats to seize control of the match. But the Bears fought back in the second half, cutting the lead in half in the 76th minute.
Jamie Burridge regained a two-goal cushion for the Wildcats with a goal in the 80th minute, sliding in a rebound from a shot by newcomer Sam Jester. That didn't slow the Bears down, however, as they continued to push and again cut the deficit to a single goal with a mark in the 88th minute. But it was too little too late as the Wildcats started the 2016 season with a notch in the win column.
The Bears recorded the first two shots of the contest, but the Wildcats were the ones to make the most of their opportunities early. With their first attack going forward, Morgan Shutter was fouled outside the box, but just outside the 'D' to give the offense a good look on goal. Manuel Ruiz-Luque dipped the ball over the wall and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
The Wildcats added to their lead in the 16th minute, as Shutter was left all alone on the back post. Burridge was able to find Shutter from the right end line, as he headed it home for the 2-0 advantage.
Burridge finished with a goal and an assist to lead the Wildcats while Vinny Tasca recorded six stops in net for the victory. The Bears' Jonathan Rico also recorded six stops in goal for the visitors.
The Wildcats remain on their four-game home stand to start the season, hosting the University of the District of Columbia on Wednesday. The opening whistle is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at the WU Athletics Complex.