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VIDEO: Gritty Audubon too much for Wildwood


WILDWOOD — When the Wildwood High School boys soccer team drew Audubon for its first-round game in the South West/South East Group I-A Tournament, at first glance it might have seemed like a good matchup for the Warriors.

Audubon brought a record of just 3-9-1 into the contest and had won only one of its previous 12 matches.

But the Green Wave hail from the soccer-rich Colonial Conference, one of the top small-school leagues in the sport in the state. And they proved to be more than formidable for the Warriors.

Ninth-seeded Audubon’s relentless pressure, domination of balls in the air and speed down both flanks proved too much as No. 8 Wildwood was left still seeking the program’s first-ever postseason victory following Saturday evening’s 2-0 defeat at Kaitlin M. Anzelone Memorial Field.

“Due to the luck of the draw, we played our toughest opponent all year in this game and we didn’t play our best, and when that happens it’s not a good recipe for winning the game,” Wildwood coach Steve DeHorsey said.

Audubon got both of its goals in the first half, the first with 25 minutes to play and the second with five minutes to play. The Green Wave also severely limited Wildwood’s opportunities in the final third, although the Warriors did get a bit dangerous on a couple of set pieces. Owen Oakley had the best chance when he put a solid header on frame off a corner kick, but Audubon’s John Perozzi made a sliding stop near the left post.

Wildwood played a bit more on the front foot in the second half but didn’t create any truly dangerous chances.

Wildwood goalkeeper Seamus Fynes kept his team in it by making a handful of quality saves.

Wildwood (9-5) is still tentatively scheduled to play a Tri-County Classic Division makeup game against Salem this week. A win in that contest would allow the Warriors to finish in second place behind Pitman in the division. Wildwood posted a comfortable victory against Salem on the road in the teams’ first meeting this season.

“I think we’ve accomplished a lot this season,” DeHorsey said. “Throughout the whole season I think we improved and I think some guys improved individually. We were 3-16 last year so winning nine games this year without really having a full preseason and not knowing what tomorrow was going to bring is really a good accomplishment.”