Wilmington Christian unleashed a secret weapon on Wednesday night.
Darrell Yirenkyi came off the bench midway through each half and scored both times to lead the Warriors past McKean 3-1 in the opening round of the DIAA Division II Boys Soccer Tournament at Caravel’s Bob Peoples Stadium.
“He does very well going in when teams are worn down,” Wilmington Christian coach Brett Lelko said of Yirenkyi. “He’s a very physical player, very aggressive player, and he got his chance tonight.”
The eighth-seeded Warriors (10-5-1) advanced to a quarterfinal matchup against No. 1 St. Elizabeth at 2 p.m. Saturday at Caravel. The ninth-seeded Highlanders finished their season at 9-7.
Yirenkyi’s first goal came in the 24th minute, and Wilmington Christian kept the 1-0 lead into the second half. But in the 45th minute, McKean’s Moises Figueroa wheeled to his left and tied it with a 15-yard blast.
The Highlanders missed on two good scoring chances in the next four minutes. Then Yirenkyi came off the bench again and found nothing but 40 yards of free space on a breakaway in the 67th minute. He scored into the lower right corner of the net to put Wilmington Christian on top again.
“I just took it down and I saw a chance,” Yirenkyi said. “I saw a spot and I just hit it there.”
McKean was pressing for the tying goal three minutes later when the Warriors’ Spencer Lockard created a turnover and slid a quick pass to Thomas Diamanty, who put it away to make it 3-1.
“He called my name to run forward and I did what he said, just started running forward,” Diamanty said of Lockard. “He played a great through ball, I saw the space and just ran as hard as I could. I saw the opening far post and put it in.”