Attendance, Wins and Team Spirit

Mindy Tucker

The record-setting weekend for University of Tampa soccer showed all the promise that exists in the programs this year. The women’s team scored seven first half goals and added another in the second half. They recorded what seems like their 100th shutout this season and controlled the ball in the offensive zone for almost the entire game. It was like watching FC Chelsea and their $200 million payroll team beat up on a middle school club.

Samantha Robinson and Shelby Kuni owned the field in the first half. It was almost hard to watch Robinson burn past Eckerd players on the right side of the field. She made them look like they were standing still as she single-handedly scored the second goal of the game in the 11th minute. Her speed contributed to her three assists in the game as well. All three of her assists were to the hattrick-scoring Kuni.

Kuni made it look easy. All she had to do was slip right through the defense and put it in the net. Her dominating performance earned Kuni her third SSC Athlete of the Week award.

Equally important to the win was the total team effort demonstrated by the Spartans. Six members of the team scored and 23 played in the game. No one played more than 68 minutes and the entire team was involved throughout the game. A player taken out was greeted by the bench as she walked to get water or find a seat. It’s easy to say that Kuni, Robinson, Courtney Evans, Jocelyn Charette, Alison Penland and Maria Mohammed’s goals won the game, but it’s more important to note that the spirit of the team contributed just as much to the win.

Following the 8-0 blowout, the men took the field is sharp-looking all-red uniforms. In just the 15th minute, Keeron Benito picked a good time to score his first goal, this one on an assist from Ricardo Cardoso.

After an Eckerd goal, Ricardo Cardoso took matters into his own hands and scored his 11th, 12th and 13th goals of the season. With a solid 4-1 lead, the game was easily in hand. John Fletcher added an “oh-by-the-way” goal for Eckerd in the 84th minute to cap the score at 4-2.

The game had no playoffs implication for either team as UT finished second to last, ending ahead of only Eckerd. Despite this fact, Tampa played hard the whole game. The spirit and team chemistry problems that showed in the middle of the season disappeared in a sea of goals and celebrations. Cardoso showed the flashes of brilliance that had been missing since the start of the season. This bodes well for the 2007 season, hopefully a season that will be marked by team chemistry and a winning record.

The last three games of the season for the men’s team showed great promise for next year. After a 5-1 start, the team fell losing eight of their next nine games. Unfortunately, most of these were conference games. Wins at St. Thomas University and victories against Eckerd and Thomas University at home can propel the team into next season. Spring workouts are an important place for the team to improve and add to their cohesiveness. Their spirit and fire in the last three games was a huge improvement over the middle of the season drought.

Despite all of their problems this year, the men’s team can improve their image as a true team next season. All it takes is some team unity, some fire, some spirit and eventually some more wins. An 8-9 season isn’t terrible, but winners draw fans and improve overall school spirit. We believe you can do it. Prove to yourselves you can and we’ll cheer you on.

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