Spartans Advance to SSC Tournament Semifinal with 1-0 Win over Eckerd

Spartans Advance to SSC Tournament Semifinal with 1-0 Win over Eckerd

ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. - The University of Tampa women's soccer team was on the road for their clash against the Eckerd College Tritons in the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Quarterfinals in a clash of the 4 and 5 seeds in the tournament. It took extra time to find a goal but Tampa came out on top 1-0 as Lacy Nasello rose above everyone on a corner as the final seconds of the first period of overtime counted down to head home the game winner and clinch a spot in the semifinals for her team.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 1, Eckerd 0
Records: Spartans (8-6-2), Tritons (6-8)
Location: Johnson Field  | St. Petersburg, Fla.

All-time Series: Tampa leads the all-time series against EC 22-3-1

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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | The Spartans came out with their minds set on one thing and it showed as they pressured Eckerd from the start. The visiting side had the possession for most of the half and dictated the pace. UT took their opportunities early on as they had two shots within the first five minutes of the game being underway and another attempt coming shortly after the 10-minute mark. The defense for Tampa was alert and doing their job alongside with support from the midfielders that it took Eckerd until just short of the 20-minute mark to get shots off and both attempts were blocked and off target. UT kept the ball as they built upon their play, keeping the Tritons locked in their half of the field as Eckerd rarely ventured anywhere near the goal defended by Tampa. The Spartans were unlucky to not lead at the break as they added four more shots in the final five minutes to keep EC on their toes.

2nd Half | Eckerd began the second half with more energy as they finally began to show signs of life. Not long after the start of the final half of regulation, the home side had its best chance of the game so far as one of their forwards had a clear look on goal as only Caroline Frykgard stood in her way. Luckily for the Spartans, the shot sailed high over the bar and the danger was gone for the time being. With just over 30 minutes to go in the half, the Tritons had another golden chance at breaking the scoreless tie but Frykgard came up huge to make a save on the initial shot and the follow-up shot also went high over the bar from near the goal line. The tide changed on the next play as an Eckerd player saw a straight red card from the referee after a foul. With the player advantage and knowing that one goal would likely be enough, UT slowly began to regain control of the match as they held more of the possession once again and Eckerd was left to try to attack via counter-attacks. UT had a couple of chances to end it in regulation but Eckerd did enough to run out the clock and send the game to sudden death overtime as the possibility of a penalty shootout began to loom larger and larger.

OT1 | The Spartans would not let tired legs beat them and instead kept up the pressure on the home team throughout the extra period. UT used both sides of the field to attack the Tritons backline. A minute into the extra period, Alex Jackson took a chance on goal but saw her attempt go wide of the net. After switching the side of the field multiple times and being unable to find a breakthrough, the Spartans had a chance after a foul by the home team with just over a minute to go. The attempt did not find its way to the goal but went out for a corner kick. Jackson hurried to set up the set piece and sent in the ball into the box where Nasello rose above everyone else and met the ball near its peak height and headed it towards the far post and past the keeper to set off the celebrations by Tampa.

INSIDE THE STATS:
• UT held a 20-7 edge in shots; 8-2 in the first half, 9-5 in the second half, and 3-0 in OT 
• Tampa and Eckerd were tied 4-4 in corners until the final play of the game which UT took advantage of to win the game.
• The Spartans had a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
• This is the second time these two teams have met, both times ending 1-0 in favor of the Spartans.
• Nasello became the 5th Spartan to score at least two goals this season.
• Jackson became the 9th Spartan to record at least one assist.

UP NEXT: The team will travel down to Fort Lauderdale for the second time in a week as the victory tonight sets up a rematch against the Nova Southeastern University Sharks, with a spot in the SSC Tournament Final up for grabs. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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