Cape ousts Tech from boys’ soccer tourney, readies for Sallies

MILFORD – Even with a two-goal lead late in Saturday’s first round state tournament game, the Cape Henlopen boys’ soccer team stuck with its initial plan.

“Never stop,” Vikings head coach Patrick Kilby said. “We have an attacking mentality and you can’t stop in tournament play because you never know what can happen if you do.”

Sussex Tech fell to rival Cape in the Division I boys' soccer state tournament. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

Sussex Tech fell to rival Cape in the Division I boys’ soccer state tournament. (Sussex County Post/Jeff Mitchell)

The plan led third-seeded Cape to a 3-1 victory over perhaps its biggest rival, No. 6 Sussex Tech, and advanced the Vikings to Wednesday’s Division I semifinals bout with two-seed Salesianum at Smyrna High.

Salesianum, which has won both of the Division I state tournaments since soccer split in 2013 and 11 of the previous 13 championships in the sport, will present a difficult challenge, Kilby said.

“Sallies is going to be a big test,” said Kilby, who is in his first season leading the Vikings. “We know what Sallies brings to the table. They haven’t lost a tournament game since 2009. When we step out on the field we have to be mentally prepared to play a mistake free game for 80 minutes and take advantage of high percentage opportunities that we create.”

Versus the Ravens, Cape may not have taken advantage of all its opportunities but the Vikings didn’t allow Tech many either. Controlling possession for nearly the entire contest, Cape outshot Sussex Tech 23-6.

Perhaps none of those shots were bigger than the one sophomore Zachary Gelof knocked true at the end of the first half on a header off a corner kick. Not only did the stoppage time goal prove to be the eventual match winner, it changed the complexion of the game by giving Cape a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime.

“I just stayed back post and tried to put something on it,” Gelof said of the header, which was the result of the sophomore out-leaping multiple players in the keeper’s box by several inches. “We did a great job preparing for this game and we’ll be ready for Sallies.”

Both Kilby and his counterpart, Sussex Tech head coach Carlos Villa, credited Gelof’s goal as the game-changer.

“If your team is able to put a goal away in the last 10 minutes of the half, it really changes the complexion of game and more than likely knocks the confidence out of your opposition,” Kilby said. “He (Gelof) has been doing that all season. We’re fortunate to have him in those set piece situations.”

“We always talk about not letting a goal in in the last two, three minutes of the half,” Villa said. “Gelof had a phenomenal header to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Cape, which took a lead it would never relinquish 21 minutes into the match on senior Drew Mulcahy’s penalty kick goal, extended its advantage to 3-0 on a Tech own goal in the 54th minute.

Despite the deficit, the Ravens didn’t quit, getting on the board with five minutes to play when sophomore Eliel Gonzalez-Gomez rolled one into the left corner of the net from nearly 30 yards out.

Getting that goal and avoiding the shutout, Villa said, is something his team can hang its hat on going into the offseason. The longtime Ravens coach added that Tech’s departing senior class will be missed.

“We always talk about that goal, making sure it’s not a shutout and finishing strong,” Villa said. “And it was a sophomore that put the ball in the goal, so that’s an important thing as we prepare for next year.

“It didn’t show up tonight, but they are very good technical players,” he added about the senior class. “I’m going to miss them a lot.”

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