ORANGE, NJ -- Trailing 4-0 at the half, Wilmington University netted four second-half goals and scored the game-winner in the second overtime to stun the host Deacons of Bloomfield College with a 5-4 comeback victory in Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) men’s soccer action on Saturday afternoon.
It was all Bloomfield to start the game, as Terry Gibbs tallied a natural hat trick over the game’s first 39 minutes. All three of Gibbs’ goals were assisted by Edgar Aguilar. The Deacons added one more just before the end of the first half to make it 4-0, when Juan Ramirez finished a feed from Gibbs.
Wilmington wasted little time in getting things started in the second half, as Manny Payton headed home a cross from Kresimir Nurnberger just 2:32 into the period. The game remained 4-1 in favor of Bloomfield for most of the second half, but in the 82nd minute the Wildcats cranked up the pressure. Senior Mike Lewis converted a Deacon turnover into a goal, and cut the lead to 4-2. Just three minutes later Eddie Kowalo netted a breakaway tally off a pass from Nurnberger to make it 4-3. The Wildcats completed the incredible comeback and tied the game at four during the 88th minute as Tom Quaranta headed in a corner kick from Ray Kuemmer.
After a scoreless first overtime session, the stage was set for Nurnberger’s heroics. Just 1:21 into the second overtime frame, Kowalo set Nurnberger up with a look from about 10 yards out. Nurnberger ripped off a shot and buried the ball into the back of the net, sending the Wildcats off with the improbable, come-from-behind victory.
Wilmington’s John Allen (five saves) earned the win in relief of Spyros Stergiotis (one saves, four goals). Bloomfield’s Daniel Hyde turned away eight saves for the hosts. Wilmington held an 18-15 advantage in shots, and also had a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.
With the win, Wilmington improved to 6-1-2 in the CACC and 7-5-4 overall, while Bloomfield dropped to 4-3-1 in the conference and 8-6-1 on the season. The Wildcats return to the pitch on Tuesday afternoon, when they play host to the Golden Falcons of Felician College in a CACC contest beginning at 3:30 PM.