Spartans Issue Rude Welcome to Sailfish in First SSC Tournament

Spartans Issue Rude Welcome to Sailfish in First SSC Tournament

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's soccer team pulled off a 2-0 upset of top-seed Palm Beach Atlantic in the 2016 Sunshine State Conference tournament semifinals on Friday.

Final: Tampa 2, No. 11 Palm Beach Atlantic 0
Records: Tampa (11-4-2), Palm Beach Atlantic (12-4-1)
Location: Pepin Stadium | Tampa, Fla.
All-time Series: Tampa is now 11-4 in the all-time series with PBA. The teams split in 2016 as PBA won the regular season meeting by a score of 3-0 in Tampa.
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"The team is showing great character and all the credit is to them. PBA is a class team and it's important that our focus now turns to the SSC Final on Sunday."

1st Half | The Spartans needed just over six minutes to grab the lead as junior Bay Downing netted the eventual game-winner. Troy Tucker earned the assist in the first goal of the match. Though PBA outshot the Spartans 8-3 in the half, UT held a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal.

2nd Half | Mike Ciluffo put the icing on the cake with a goal at 76:14. The unassisted goal gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead with just over 13:00 remaining on the clock. Tampa outshot its opponent 9-4 in the final half, also adding a 5-2 edge in shots on target.

• Though the teams finished even in shots at 12-12, Tampa registered eight total shots on goal compared to just four for Palm Beach Atlantic.

• SSC Freshman of the Year Lewis Sugden led Tampa with four shots and three on goal. Jake Winship added three while Downing also had three.

 Jake Richards notched his second shutout of the SSC tournament as he previously blanked Barry in the quarterfinals on Tuesday in Tampa. The freshman finished with four saves on the night.

• This marks UT's fifth shutout of the season. The others came against Barry, Nova Southeastern, Warner and Clayton State.

• PBA took nine corner kicks as UT had eight. Tampa was whistled for 15 fouls to 10 for the Sailfish. 

• The goalkeeping duo of Richards and Richard Trench has continued to work for the Spartans. Both have been highly successful in 2016 with Richards winning seven games and notching four shutouts. Trench has three wins, but owns 38 saves while Richards has 31.

• Friday's shutout marks the second time this season where the Spartans have blanked their opponents in consecutive matches. The last time it happened was wins over Clayton State, Warner and Nova Southeastern earlier in the season.

• The Spartans are now 5-2-1 in SSC Semifinal matches. UT advances to championship in searxch for its first tournament tile since 2010. UT also won in  2007. Tampa is 2-2 all-time when playin g for the SSC crown.

• In the latest NCAA South Region rankings, Tampa was listed in fifth place behind Palm Beach Atlantic, Lynn, Florida Tech and Mississippi College. The top four teams from the South are selected for postseason play.

Tampa will meet SSC No. 2 seed and national No. 5 Lynn University for the 2016 SSC Tournament championship. Sunday's match will start at 1 p.m. The game will be played at Palm Beach Atlantic as the host school will offer live stats and a broadcast of the title contest.

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