|Cardona Scores Deciding Goal In 2-1 Win|
NEWARK, Delaware – The Seahawks took another step towards securing a Colonial Athletic Association tournament berth on Saturday as Mateo Cardona’s goal in the 87th minute lifted UNCW to a 2-1 win over Delaware at the UD Mini Stadium.
UNCW (8-5-1) improved to 3-2 in the league and moved past the Blue Hens (11-4-0), who dropped to 2-3, with nine points. The Seahawks snapped a three-game losing streak to UD and moved to 9-3 in the all-time series.
“This was really an important victory for our team as we battle to secure a playoff spot in the CAA tournament,” said UNCW Head Coach Aidan Heaney. “Our team was excellent in the first half and Colin (Bonner) scored a well-deserved goal. The second half, Delaware showed their attacking qualities as they are very dangerous team. The fact that we managed to hold them to limited shots on goal is testament to how well we defended as a team. Mateo (Cardona) then hit a clutch free kick into the top corner to win it for us.
The win elevated the Seahawks into a tie for fourth with William & Mary, both with nine points. The Tribe rallied for a 3-2 win over visiting Hofstra Saturday. Drexel, a 2-1 loser at James Madison on Saturday, is tied with Northeastern for the league-lead with 10 points.
Cardona’s game-winning strike came at the 86:12 mark and came off a free kick from 20 yards out. Sophomore David Sizemore was taken down on the play leading to the winning free kick.
Roberto Gimenez drew UD even with his third goal of the season coming in the 71st minute. CAA-leading scorer Guillermo Delgado was credited with an assist on the play.
The Seahawks used a stifling defense to limit the high scoring UD offense to just two shots on goal. UNCW entered the game limiting opponents to 4.6 shots on goal per game. Delgado, who notched 12 goals on the season entering the contest, was held to two shots, none on goal.
UNCW freshman goalkeeper Sean Melvin earned the win making a save while facing nine shots. The Blue Hens totaled 15 shots on the evening. Sophomore Sam Williams played the first half and recorded UNCW’s lone save on the night.
“Kellen (Foster) and Jose (Garcia) were very good in midfield, and Jacob (VanCompernolle) led the back four superbly, as he has done all season for us.”
The Seahawks return to action on Nov. 2 with a 7 p.m. start against William & Mary. The game begins a two-game homestand that closes out the regular season for the Seahawks. UNCW hosts Northeastern on Nov. 6 in the season finale.
“I think we have played some of our best soccer at the tail end here, so hopefully we can keep that going and keep getting better.”