By: Cameron Andrade
The University of Tampa women’s soccer team hosted their senior night against Barry University on Saturday, Oct. 8. They would be held to a 1-1 draw while remaining undefeated at home this season.
Preparation and nerves for senior night are always there for the players, especially the seniors and grad students participating in the game. Your family and friends are all there for you, celebrating your success as a player throughout your collegiate career. Preparation for a game like this has always got to be sharp.
“Preparation wise we have mostly been focusing on us,” said Erin Switalski, head coach for UT. “We have been focusing on what we need to do going into the Barry game, Barry has always been a good team and they have some good results this year.”
The preparation would prove to be vital for the team going into Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers.
The first half would see the Spartans putting the pressure on Barry’s defensive back line, using their front three forwards to apply pressure and not give Barry time on the ball. Tampa would get a few opportunities but not find the back of the net, until Madison McElhone, senior forward, would find the ball from inside the box, slotting it in the bottom corner to put the Spartans ahead in the 31st minute of the game.
Tampa would go into the locker room up 1-0 on a Barry team that has a notable win over Flagler, a team who was nationally ranked number 11 by the United Soccer Coaches Association. Both teams looked to make adjustments heading into the second half.
Barry came into the second half looking for a goal, beginning to pile the pressure on the Spartans. A ball down the line for Barry would find them in Tampa’s defensive third, and put Tampa’s defense in a bad position.
An attempt at winning the ball from Tampa saw the Barry forward go to ground, as referee Janessa Gunn would blow the whistle for a penalty kick. McKenna Delong, senior forward for Barry stepped up to take the kick, and put it in the bottom corner to convert the penalty, making the game level at one a piece in the 57th minute.
Both teams would not be able to separate themselves from the other, as both would have good opportunities to put their team ahead. A last ditch effort from Katherine Hostage, graduate student forward for the Spartans, resulted in a shot saved by the Barry keeper. As the two teams could not break the deadlock, the game ended in a draw at 1-1.
After the game, all graduate students and seniors were visited and accompanied by their parents and friends to celebrate their wonderful collegiate career and success as players.
One of those participating in senior night, graduate student forward Stephanie DeLaforcade, was not on the scoresheet during the game. Nonetheless, she was always showing an impact on the field with her leadership and toughness, something she learned from Coach Switalski and assistant coach Erin Stephens.
“They [Coach Switalski and Coach Stephens] really solidified in me how to be a leader,” said DeLadorcade. “Coming here as an older person you’re already expected to be a leader, and I really think they brought out the best in me and helped me find my voice.”
The Spartans return back home to Pepin Stadium as they take on Saint Leo University. Both teams consider this a rivalry matchup and are expecting a physical game as the outcome.
“Saint Leo is a semi rival of ours so it definitely is a game we have circled on our calendars,” said DeLadorcade. “It’s recovery the next few days and then right back at it at practice, they are a physical team and we’re gonna bring it to them.”