Tampa Outlasts Lynn to Win NCAA South Regional Title
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The No. 19 University of Tampa (16-5-2) women’s soccer team won its sixth straight match, capturing the NCAA Division II South Region championship. Tampa defeated Lynn University (11-7-1) 1-0 in double overtime Friday afternoon at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
"What a fantastic ending to an enthralling game," says head coach Gerry Lucey. "Lynn have improved so much over the past couple of years and Chip and Joe deserve a ton of credit. They started the better team today but in the end we got on top of them and kept driving forward to get the winner. I'm so happy for our team that we have won the NCAA South regional championship again for the third time in six years."
Brittan Spence headed in the game-winning goal 51 seconds into the second overtime. Cina Salemi recorded the assist on the play. For Spence, it was her eighth goal of the season and second in the last two contests.
"Brittan Spence has had a knack for scoring in overtime and has headed in a great goal off of a pin point cross from Cina Salemi," comments Lucey. "Cina stepped in today when Samantha Kay went out injured and played her best game for UT."
The first half was scoreless with Lynn outshooting Tampa five to four. The second half started out similar but UT come on strong late with multiple scoring chances resulting from 11 shots and seven corner kicks. However, the score remained tied at zero.
Following the first 10 minute scoreless overtime session, Spence headed in a cross by Salemi at the 1:00.51 mark. Goalkeeper Emelie Karstrom registered her fourth straight shutout and number-10 of the 2011 season as the sophomore turned away three shots on goal by the Knights.
Senior captain Samantha Kay went down midway through the first half with an ankle injury that sidelined her for the remainder of the game and is questionable for Sunday’s match against host Armstrong. Kay has started in all 23 games for Tampa this season.
"We had a lot of strong performances today with the back five putting their bodies on the line for success," states Lucey. "I'm once again very proud of our entire senior class for pushing us along and having their "never say die" attitude."
The Spartans finished the contest with 17 shots, including four on target. UT recorded nine corner kicks during regulation compared to one by LU.
"We know Sunday will be a very difficult task against a strong AASU team," believes Lucey. "We tied earlier this year and know that they have a lot of weapons and talent."
Tampa will now meet the Peach Belt Conference and the Southeast Region champions Armstrong Atlantic State University in the NCAA quarterfinals. The match is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Pensacola, Fla., on December 1.
"We will savor this victory and get back on the practice field tomorrow to prepare for AASU," concludes Lucey.
Live stats and webcast will be available through www.tampaspartans.com.
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