TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa Men's soccer team faced off against the University of West Alabama Tigers in the 2nd round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers overcame the Spartans 5-1 as three first-half goals by UWA set the pace. The Spartans season comes to a close in the 2nd round of the tournament, a week after lifting the trophy as winners of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament over Rollins.
INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 1, West Alabama 5
Records: Spartans (9-4-3), Tigers (16-2-1)
Location: Pepin Stadium | Tampa, Fla.
All-time Series: Tampa and West Alabama are tied with one win apiece in the all-time series.
QUOTING HEAD COACH ADRIAN BUSH:
"This is a tough way for our season to come to an end. West Alabama deserves a lot of credit, they were the better team today. As tough as it is right now, I'm proud of this team and this group of upperclassmen. They have given our athletic program their best on and off the field, which is all we can ask of them."
HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | The two teams began a physical game under a slight rain shower that made for a wet field of play that made the ball slick and passes needing to be on point. West Alabama saw more of the possession and dictated the pace and they opened the scoring 15 minutes into the match. The home side did not cave however and they were able to respond to the goal with one of their own three minutes after as Juancho Fernandez combined with Lewis Sugden to tie the game up at one apiece. The Tigers went back on the offensive as they were able to add two more goals before halftime to open up a 3-1 lead as the Spartans trailed at home at the break for the first time all year.
2nd Half | The Spartans started out the second half with a burst of energy as they fought to get back into the match trailing by two. UT kept the pressure up on the visiting side in the first minutes of the second half but was unable to breakthrough. In the 51st minute, the Tigers extended their lead as they notched another goal to open up a three-goal lead at 4-1. With just under half an hour to go in the match, Tampa had a golden chance to cut into the gap. A Sugden cross on a corner kick found Marcel Salokat at the near post but his header went off the underside of the crossbar and stayed out. A follow-up went off the right post and a header on the rebound by Monty Berrow drew an acrobatic save from the West Alabama keeper to keep the ball out of the back of the net. UWA added the final goal of the game in the 64th minute and the Spartans did well to fight till the end, having their chances blocked in the box or be wide of the net as the clock counted down on the season for Tampa.
INSIDE THE STATS:
• UT held a 19-18 edge in shots on the afternoon including a 12-7 advantage in the second half.
• A chippy game led to 17 fouls being whistled and three yellow cards being issued, two with under 30 seconds to go in the game.
• Tampa held a 9-6 lead in corner kicks.
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
• The Spartans finish the season with 33 goals in 16 games.
• 12 different players scored at least one goal on the season for UT.
• 12 different players recorded at least one assist on the season for Tampa.
The Spartans season concludes in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 9-4-3.
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