Three-Goal Second Half Lifts Tampa in Season Opener

Three-Goal Second Half Lifts Tampa in Season Opener

PENSACOLA, Fla. - In its 2017 season opener, the reigning South Region champion and No. 8 ranked University of Tampa men's soccer team claimed a 3-1 victory over regional opponent University of West Florida on the road.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 3, West Florida 1
Records: Tampa (1-0), West Florida (0-1)
Location: UWF Soccer Stadium | Pensacola, Fla.
All-time Series: Tampa now leads the all-time series 12-4-3. This marks the first UT victory in Pensacola since 2002.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | West Florida scored the lone goal of the half, with the first goal of its season coming on an own goal. The score took place in the 21st minute. Tampa held a 4-3 edge in shots as each team posted two shots on goal in the opening half.

2nd Half | Tampa found the West Florida goal on three occasions with senior Bay Downing accounting for the first UT score of the 2017 season on an assist from classmate Zack Soufl in the 70th minute. Six minutes later Tampa would take its first lead of the contest as Juancho Fernandez nailed the eventual game-winner. Ramzi Toure and Lewis Sugden were credited with assists. Tampa would add to its advantage in the 83rd minute when Marcel Salokat added an unassisted goal.

INSIDE THE STATS:
• Tampa outshot its opponent 7-5 with a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal.

• After scoring nine goals as a junior, Downing was the first Spartan to score this season.

Sugden netted an assist on the second goal as the sophomore is coming off a season where he led all Spartans with nine as a true freshman.

• The Spartans took 10 corner kicks while limiting their opponent to just four. 

• Richard Trench started in goal for Tampa and registered one save in the game.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE:
• This marks the second straight season Tampa has defeated West Florida in its season opener. The Spartans defeated the Argonauts 4-2 in Tampa to start the 2016 slate.

• Tampa has now won three straight season openers.

Trench earned the start after getting the nod in five games in 2016. The win was the fourth of his Spartan career.

• Ranked No. 8 in the preseason poll, this marks the highest to start the season for Tampa since being tabbed at No. 5 in 2010.

UP NEXT:
Tampa travels to Mobile, Ala., to face Spring Hill College on Monday at 2 p.m.

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