W. SOCCER

UT Women's Soccer Reflects On European Trip

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa women’s soccer team arrived in Venice, Italy on Mar. 5 and were faced with the daunting task of playing a game that evening. Not only did they travel for 24 hours but they needed to dig deep and find the energy to play against one of Italy’s premier women’s soccer teams.

Faced with 34 degree weather and a strong wind the women found the energy and desire and took to the field for an 8 p.m. kick off against their opposition from Pordenone, ACF Graphistudio Campagna.

Tampa found themselves behind by a goal after 25 minutes of play through a defensive error. Their heads never dropped though and playing into a heavy wind they battled back and deservedly equalized through Luana Miessa’s first goal of the game.

This was to be quite a game and trip for Miessa, who has had to endure a difficult beginning to her UT career due to NCAA eligibility requirements. The first half was evenly spread in possession with Tampa making the best opportunities through the creativity of Jazmin Perry, Courtney Peffley and Marta Bertsos.

The industry of Charlotte White and Alexa DellaRocco down the right side was causing problems for the Italians and Tampa took the lead for good 15 minutes into the second half on a direct kick from Luana Miessa. Miessa drilled the shot from 25 yards and the pace deceived the keeper and ended up in the back of the net.

Tampa continued to pour forward and was rewarded with a third goal 15 minutes from the final buzzer courtesy of a Jazmin Perry corner kick. Perry’s kick was hit hard into the middle of the six yard box where Courtney Peffley smartly dummied the ball for an onrushing Luana Miessa to bury into the goal from three yards.

The UT women had played an excellent game against top Italian opposition and walked away with an impressive 3-1 win. Both teams dined together in true European tradition and also exchanged t-shirts. It was a long day but one the team would remember for many years.

The next game for head coach Gerry Lucey’s squad was in Slovenia against the Slovenian Women’s national champions (KRKA) for the past six years. This fact was not known to the team until after the game. The Slovenian team also competed in the UEFA Women’s Champions League last season.

With snow falling and temperatures below 28 degrees, the women’s team came out dressed for the weather. The game started at a strong pace with the Slovenian’s getting a couple of early opportunities.

Saige Steinmetz stood tall for the Spartans in goal and shut down the early chances. The defensive unit of Maddie Dugan, Pasquale Anderson, Charlotte White and Dana Palmiotto played compact and thwarted the Slovenian’s attack and created from the back. The UT women’s midfield was kept busy during the first half but again created the better chances through Samantha Kay and the attacking midfielders. The teams entered half time tied at 0-0.

The second half was nearly all UT with the Slovenian’s backed up to their 18 for most of the half. Tampa hit the crossbar and post through Miessa before finally netting a good team goal with fine intricate passing before Miessa unleashed from 20 yards putting the ball over the head of the KRKA Keeper. Tampa pushed for a second but was stung on a set piece by the Slovenian’s 10 minutes before time. The game ended up 1-1 which was a little unfair on UT, but considering the conditions a tie was acceptable.

The squad’s third game in Italy was cancelled due to the weather as the Spartans played a pair of highly competitive games against strong and fundamental European opponents.

“Overall, this was a tremendous experience for the players and coaches and hopefully Tampa will take this bonding experience with them and put themselves back on the national map next fall,” says Lucey. “The players really enjoyed the sights that Europe had to offer and have great memories to share for many years to come.”

For a first hand look at the UT women's soccer trip to Europe, please visit Maddie Dugan's blog. Click here to read.

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