Matthew Vowinkel paced the Pride attack. (Photo courtesy of Hofstra)
PHILADELPHIA – Matthew Vowinkel scored a goal and set up two others to lead the Hofstra University men to a 4-2 win over UNCW in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals at Vidas Field Thursday night.
Hendrik Hebbeker added a goal and an assist and George O’Malley and Storm Strongin had a goal apiece.
Hofstra (5-2-2) advanced to play James Madison in the CAA championship game Saturday at noon. The Pride will make its eighth CAA final appearance and its second in three seasons.
Hofstra was on the attack from the opening whistle as O’Malley scored in the third minute following a flurry of shots off a Hofstra corner kick. Strongin sent the kick into the box that was headed by Pierce Infuso and saved by goalkeeper Gabriel Perrotta. The rebound went to Vowinkel, who had his shot stopped by Perrotta. But the rebound went to O’Malley in front and the All-CAA first team selection buried his shot into the right corner for his first goal of the season.
Hebbeker put the Pride up by a 2-0 count in the 19th minute when he raced down the left side and sent a tough-angled shot over the head of Perrotta. Strongin found the back of the net in the 27th minute as he took the rebound of Vowinkel’s header and slid a left-footed shot past a sprawling Perrotta for a 3-0 lead.
UNCW put some pressure on the Pride, breaking through in the 69th minute as Parker Norris took a through ball from Gabe Mercer and one-timed a shot past keeper Wessel Speel for the first Seahawks goal. Three minutes later, Mercer sent a cross in from the left side that Jacob Evans headed in to make it a one-goal game.
UNCW could not get the equalizer and Vowinkel iced it for the Pride in the 88th minute when he took a pass from Hebbeker outside the top of the box and blasted a 25-yard rocket into the upper right corner.
Speel had a season-high seven saves for the Pride while Perrotta made 12 saves.