WildCats Host Generals With ODAC Title Game Appearance on the Line
LYNCHBURG, Va. -- For the fourth straight year, the WildCats are in the ODAC semifinals. The 'Cats host Washington & Lee at 7 p.m., Wednesday.
About at the WildCats:
Randolph is the top seed in the ODAC tournament and home-field throughout the playoffs, as well as the winners of the first regular season title in program history.
Randolph is coming off of a 1-0 win over Guilford, in which junior Julian Khalili (Falmouth, Va./Stafford) scored the game-winner off of a rebound from first-year Troy Jurney (Camp Lejeune, N.C./White Oak).
Jurney repaid a favor to Khalili, who set up his first career goal earlier this year against that same Guilford squad.
That game marked just the second time in 18 contests this year that the WildCats were held to fewer than two goals, with a 1-1 draw against Greensboro being the other.
This is the fourth straight year in which the WildCats are in the ODAC semifinals, sitting at 1-2 in these games.
Last year, Randolph fell at Roanoke, 3-0. In 2011, the WildCats beat Virginia Wesleyan in double overtime to send the team to its first conference title game, which it won over Lynchburg. In the team's first appearance in 2010, Randolph lost to Lynchburg.
Randolph is now two wins shy of the most in program history, 18, set by that 2011 squad. Randolph has already clinched the best winning percentage in program history, as it is 16-1-1.
In the D3soccer.com poll this week, the WildCats are up to No. 17, up two spots from last week.
This year's squad has topped the program records for goals, assists and points in a single season.
About the Generals:
With less than a dozen minutes remaining in their quarterfinal, Parker Wolfinger finally broke through to score the game's lone goal, pushing the Generals to the semifinals.
The team is 10-3-5 overall this year and has made its mark on the defensive end, with 10 clean sheets. Albert Civitarese is second in the league in goals against average and goals allowed and fourth in save percentage.
Offensively, Zach Colby, last year's conference leader in goals and points, has 13 goals this year, second in the conference.
Colby missed the first contest between these two teams due to yellow card accumulation.
About the matchup:
WildCat fans will remember this team very well, as the two teams will match up twice exactly one week apart.
Last Wednesday, the WildCats took home a 4-0 decision which locked up the regular season crown. There will be an added dynamism for the Generals with the return of Colby, however.
In that first meeting, John Adams (Lynchburg, Va./E.C. Glass) scored for the third time in four games he took advantage of a loose ball in the six after a cross from senior classmate Jacob Lusczek (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) was mishandled, putting the WildCats up just over five minutes in.
Jurney helped the 'Cats double the lead with a great switch to Lusczek on a three-on-two with the defenders leaving half the field wide open for the streaking forward.
After a quick turn on the edge of the box, Lusczek ripped one low for the goal.
Jurney was one of three first-year participants on the third goal, just before the break, after he dummied a throw-in from Blake Heatherly (Jacksonville, N.C./Jacksonville) through, allowing Kyle Unruh (Raleigh, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) a clean shot with time ticking down before intermission.
Cornell played the ball into the six, where Kabamba used his body to redirect the ball into the net, capping off the scoring.
The win was the first for Randolph against the Generals and the first time the teams combined to score more than two goals in regulation in this typically low-scoring series.
Randolph is now 1-3-2 against the Generals, with two of the three losses by just one goal.
About the tournament:
It was all chalk in the first round of the tournament, as the top seeds each took care of business on their home fields.
None of the games were easy, however, as each contest was decided by one goal. The three games that finished in regulation were all decided by 1-0 scorelines, while Virginia Wesleyan looked to finish with the same score before Bridgewater forced overtime in the final four minutes.
The Marlins took 18 seconds to score in overtime, however.
The winner of the contest at WildCat Stadium will face the winner of Virginia Wesleyan against Lynchburg on Saturday at a time as yet to be determined.
Should the WildCats win, they will host either opponent. If the Generals upset the 'Cats, they will travel to Virginia Beach or come back into town to face the Hornets on Saturday.
The other semifinal will kick off at the same time Wednesday.
For more information on the tournament, see the pairings below. Information will be added to the ODAC Men's Soccer Championship website as it becomes available.
ODAC MEN'S SOCCER TOURNAMENT PAIRINGS
Semifinals – Wednesday, November 6
Game 5: #4 Washington & Lee at #1 Randolph - 7 p.m.
Game 6: #3 Lynchburg at #2 Virginia Wesleyan - 7 p.m.
Championship – Saturday, November 9
Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (at higher seed) – TBA
WildCat to watch:
Senior Corey Sindle (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester) has 50 goals, 18 assists and 118 points in his storied career. His point total puts him seventh in ODAC history, but just three points behind fourth all-time. He became the sixth player in ODAC history to score 50 career goals, and is seven behind the league's all-time record.
He started the year with points in 13 of the first 14 games, but has been held without one for the last four.
Randolph's offense is ranked fourth nationally and typically runs through the diminutive forward, but it has struck 10 times in the last four games without him being nearly as involved as usual.
While Sindle has helped create chances, he has not tallied a point since a 7-0 win over Shenandoah on Oct. 19.
In a deeper playoff run, Randolph will look to the 2011 ODAC Player of the Year to help lead the offense.
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