The University of Tampa men’s soccer team (13-3-1) dropped out of the race to the championship after a loss to Montevallo (14-3-2) in penalty kicks last Sunday. Although the season was completed short of the national championship goal, Tampa still has plenty to be proud of.
Coach Adrian Bush reflected on this season as one of vast improvement.
In his first two seasons as head coach, the former Tampa star amassed a record of 15-16-4, cutting his losses by 66 percent since last season alone. Although he wanted to take his team to the national championship title as he did as a player in 1994, he took defeat with grace.
“All credit to Montevallo,” Bush said. “They were the hungrier team, and that was the deciding factor.”
The pair of senior strikers Clevon George and Ricardo Cardoso also end their Spartan career on a high note. Cardoso once again reached double digits, scoring 12 goals this season complimenting his 14 last season. George finished second on the team, only to Cardoso, in goals and points each of the last two seasons.
Kevin Sierra, Devin Shaw and Zach Barber also ended their Spartan careers but they do leave the team in the capable feet of Pascal Milien. Milien found his way around Falcon defenders numerous times in the Montevallo game but was unable to ever find an open corner of net.
While Tampa’s offense waves good-bye to key players, the defense begins training for more years to come. The entire back line, including starting keeper Ryan Thompson who recorded 13 saves on 27 shots, allowing only one goal in the loss to Montevallo. The defense does lose veteran Kevin St. John who started the first 10 games of the season. Coach Bush played St. John after the game went to penalty kicks.
“Kevin was the man. He came up with two huge saves that their guys couldn’t have hit any better,” Coach Bush said about the veteran. “And to the guys who missed, the greatest players in the world miss penalty kicks.”
Coach Bush referred to defenders Dan Ingvarsson and Daniel Bergstrand as well as Devin Shaw, all of whom could not find a way around keeper Melford James Jr. who went on to be the most outstanding defensive player of the tournament.
Sierra, Cardoso, George and Bobby Durham all scored while Kevin Sierra had two blocked.