The women’s soccer team won the Sunshine State Conference Championship for the third year in a row.
With no score in regulation time, the lady Spartans took control in overtime, beating their season rival St. Leo 1-0.
The winning goal was shot by Marissa Mohammed within the first two minutes of overtime. Assisting her was Shelby Kuni, who was named MVP of the SSC Tournament.
“We had to get them back for the last time they beat us here on our home field,” said Marissa Mohammed. “It feels good to be champions three years in a row.”
The intensity of the game was shown at the start by both teams.
In the first half, Kuni came very close for a Spartan goal but was denied by the crossbar.
A number of yellow cards were issued to both teams, with two going to each side. The aggressive teams battled until the end, giving a great performance.
“It’s always a fight against that team,” said coach Gerry Lucey. “It was well deserved. We’ve got a week to prepare for the next game and we’ll be ready.”
Tampa’s victory over St. Leo awards them home field going into the NCAA South Regional Tournament this weekend.
“The first we have a bye so we’ll be fresh for the game on Sunday,” said Marissa Mohammed. “We need to score early in the game instead of waiting for the last minute, put our chances away earlier.”
The key for Tampa is to score goals and score a lot of them. The Spartans outscored their opponents 42 goals for and allowing 13 against during the regular season. In tournament play, Shannon Aiken has kept the Spartans perfect with two shutout performances.
“It’s been our secret all year that we need to score goals,” said Shannon Agnew. “This last game we played really brought out a lot of the emotion of the team and everyone came together.”
The Spartans will play the winner of the Ouachita Baptist and Nova Southeastern game Sunday at 1 p.m.
SOUTH REGIONAL TOURNAMENT >> Where? First two rounds in Tampa.
>> Who? Ouachita Baptist, Nova Southeastern and Tampa.
>> When? Ouachita vs. NSU on Friday at 7 p.m. Tampa faces the winner of that match at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
>>Our pick: Ouachita over NSU, Tampa over Ouachita. After an “embarassing” tie in September, Tampa will bounce back to defeat the Tigers.