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Goals galore for Union Academy grads on opening night of college soccer season

Kalil ElMedkhar and Zach Zandi scored game-winning goals on opening night

Kalil ElMedkhar celebrates his first career goal for Kentucky on August 24, 2018
UK Athletics

Kalil ElMedkhar and Zach Zandi both scored game-winning goals in 1-0 wins and three other Philadelphia Union Academy grads picked up their first collegiate goals on opening night of the Division 1 men’s college soccer season Friday night.

ElMedkhar (Middletown, Del.), a University of Kentucky sophomore who had a productive summer with Reading United, connected a well-taken strike for his first collegiate goal in the 35th minute of the Wildcats 1-0 win over DePaul in Lexington.

“I think it was a really good win for the team,” ElMedkhar was quoted saying after the game. “We had a long time to prepare for this game and came out and did exactly what we needed to do. I wish we had three or four goals, but happy to get away with one goal and get a win from it.”

Zandi, who started along with ElMedkhar for Reading United in the Premier Development League final earlier this month, was able to beat fellow West Chester native Todd Morton with full-time winding down to lift Villanova to a 1-0 win over Delaware in Newark.

“I scored against a guy I have played my whole life against basically,” Zandi was quoted saying after the match. “It was a nice feeling.”

Richie Slentz (West Chester, Pa.), who played for the Union U14s in 2013-14, was credited with a secondary assist on the Zandi’s winner. Rob Campbell and John Schroeder both started the match for the Blue Hens.

Justin McMaster had a secondary assist that led to rookie Kyle Holcomb’s overtime winner in Wake Forest’s 2-1 win over defending College Cup finalists Indiana in North Carolina on Friday. Joey DeZart also started in the match for the Demon Deacons.

Seth Kuhn (Wyomissing, Pa.) had an assist on the night in a 3-1 win for Duke and while Issa Rayyan didn’t show up on the score sheet, he made the most of his college debut drawing a penalty and giving the FIU defense fits down the right flank.

Jeremy Rafanello (Delran, N.J.) scored a goal in his debut for Penn State, which was also former Union U19 head coach Jeff Cook’s first as the Nittany Lions head coach. The game ended in a 2-1 loss to UCF in double overtime.

Iverson Brisma also scored in his collegiate debut, putting NC State up 1-0 with a goal just under seven minutes in. The Wolfpack defeated USC Upstate 3-1 in the match.

Four other academy grads made their college debuts on Friday night with Andrew Aprahamian (Malvern, Pa.) starting in Stanford’s scoreless draw with San Jose State, Daniel Bloyou coming off the bench in Old Dominion’s 1-0 win over Radford, Ramzi Qawasmy (Lansdale, Pa.) starting in Providence’s 2-1 double overtime win over SMU and Olu Ogunwale coming off the bench for Michigan State in their 1-0 win over South Florida. Josue Monge (Philadelphia, Pa.) started for the Bulls in the game.

Sophomore Emmanuel Perez opened his college scoring account for Cal Poly with a brace in a 4-1 win over Division II Fresno Pacific. Defender Freeman Dwamena (Philadelphia, Pa.) was credited with an assist on Perez’s second goal.

Sean Wilson (Bethlehem, Pa.) also got on the score sheet Friday night with an assist in Xavier’s 6-0 win over NAIA school Cincinnati Christian.

Fifth year senior defender Pat Berneski (Warrington, Pa.) scored Notre Dame’s lone goal in a 1- draw with Saint Louis. The goal was the second of Berneski’s career and first since 2015.