Young Spartans Stumble Out of the Gate

Jazmin Perry

The 24th-ranked Spartans hosted the NGU Saints at Pepin Field Aug. 28 to open the season.

They got on the board just 16:44 into the game when Jasmin Perry shot a Samantha Kay pass into the Saints net.

UT extended the lead to 2-0 early in the second half.

Freshman Sara Kneeland scored an unassisted goal, the first of her collegiate career.

North Georgia would not back down quietly. Casey Smith scored for the Saints at the 75:19 mark to close the gap.

Five minutes later, Natalie Douglass beat UT sophomore goalie Kendall Bourdon and tied the game at two.

The teams opted to call it a draw after regulation time expired.

“The girls were playing with confidence early on, knocking the ball around well,” coach Gerry Lucey said. “But we didn’t take the opportunities when we got them. This is a game we felt we should have won by five, six, seven.”

The Spartans then hosted Grand Valley State on Aug. 30.

The Lakers scored early and often to send Tampa to a 4-0 defeat.

A mistake led to an own goal against UT, credited to GVSU’s Ashley Botts just 1:17 into the game.

Lucey said the unpressured own goal “shot ourselves in the foot.”“[Grand Valley State] is good, but they don’t need games handed to them,” Lucey added.
Alyssa Mira and Caitlin Boyak later scored less than 90 seconds apart to give the GVSU a 3-0 first half advantage.

Mira scored her second goal off a rebound at 88:20 to cap the scoring.

Bourdon made eight saves in the loss, while Lakers goalie Chelsea Parise saved four shots in preserving the shutout.

Despite the team’s early struggles, Lucey said Bourdon has “done a pretty good job” so far.

Tampa (0-1-1) plays next in the Columbus State Tournament in Columbus, Ga., with their first game scheduled for Friday against Tusculum.

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