Spartan Sports For Dummies

To all the fine men and women that have decided to make University of Tampa their home for the next four years, there is something important you should know.

The athletic program at UT is burning hotter than the Florida sun in August, and you have the chance to be a part of it from the start of your college journey.

Here is a handy recap complete with biggest moments from the 2006-2007 athletic year.

Going into the year, UT was coming off winning its first national baseball championship

since 1998. Tampa had won the Division II National Championship by defeating Cal-State Chico on a glorious June night in Alabama.

Led by head coach Joe Urso, the Spartans came into last year ranked number one in Division II. They had lost National Player of the Year Lee Cruz and National Pitcher of the Year Sergio Perez, as both were selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. The team came back focused on speed and defense rather than the previous season’s Spartan Slug Fest.

The Spartans opened up the season strong taking two of three from second-ranked Georgia College and State. Their strong February start fizzled a little as they went up and down in the rankings throughout the year.

However led by sophomore first baseman slugger Jose Jiminez, senior surprise Craig Corrado and strong pitching from the likes of Jonathan Holt, Johnny Williams and others, the Spartans achieved what other schools often dream of.

On a beautiful June night in Montgomery, Ala. the Spartans hoisted the Division II championship trophy for the second consecutive year.

Baseball was a big part of the athletic program’s hot streak last season, but the Spartans volleyball team refused to be left out of the party.

On Nov. 3, 2006, UT fans set a record for the largest crowd ever to attend a women’s Sunshine State Conference athletic event as the Spartans defeated Florida Southern. The victory was sweet for the lady Spartans as they avenged their only loss of the season, a 3-0 sweep by the Mocs in Lakeland.

On Nov. 18, Tampa defeated the University of Northern Alabama 3-1 to win the title. Katelen Dixon led the Spartans with 15 kills and Margeaux Sinibaldi racked up 28 digs. This was Tampa’s first volleyball championship.

The Spartans also garnered championship glory in the water.On March 15, freshman swimmer Jessie Bardin captured a national championship in 200-free. Her time of 1:50.92 was good enough to bring home the Spartans’ only swimming title of the year.

These were huge accomplishments for the athletic program, but there were other athletic moments that made the year such an overwhelming success.

Soccer also helped make Spartan sports sizzle, as both the women and mens teams had great moments during the season.

On November 11, women’s soccer defeated Tusculum 5-0 to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.

Shannon Aitken recorded her 11th shutout of the season while Jocelyn Charette scored a hat trick and Shelbi Kuni tied the SSC record for goals in a season.

The men’s team didn’t match the women’s success, but they did have some high moments to build on for the coming season.

On August 26, the men’s soccer team defeated nationally-ranked Clayton State thanks to Ricardo Cardoso’s hat trick. Men’s and women’s basketball also had success in the 2006-07 campaign.

On March 4, the women’s basketball team won the SSC tournament for the second straight year. The Spartans defeated Rollins 68-66 on Shay Mackey’s buzzer-beating shot after tying the game on Mackey’s three-pointer at the end of regulation.

On Dec. 2, and Feb. 7, the men’s basketball team handed Rollins its only two losses of the regular season, the first coming when the Tars were fifth in the nation. Chris King led Tampa, scoring 21 in the first match-up and 20 in the second.

To the common person, the accomplishments listed already are enough to get the point. UT has some serious sports programs.

But the cross country team added an extra dimension to UT’s athletic success.

The team recorded the highest GPA in D-II. With an average of 3.74, the team earned the honor from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

By day you can study by the pool or take a nice walk through Plant Park. By night you can be with your friends and organizations at the field or gym, going nuts as your Spartans represent UT.

To the ladies and gentleman of UT: Let the 2007-2008 season begin!

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