Spartan's Four-Goal Outburst Leads to Victory

Spartan's Four-Goal Outburst Leads to Victory

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's soccer team opened up the season at home with a four-goal outburst against Flager College. 

MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 4, Flagler 2 
Records: Tampa Spartans (1-1), Flagler College Saints (0-2)
Location: Pepin Stadium || Tampa, Fla. 
All-time Series: Tampa owns a commanding 13-3-1 lead in the all-time series. In the series dating back to 1976, the teams will meet for the first time since the 2011 season. Flagler won the previous two meetings over the Spartans. Tampa is 11-1 at home against Flagler.
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half | The match began at a rapid pace as both teams were in attacking formation. In the 6th minute, after a back-and-forth exchange, Julius Becker led Rojay Smith into the 18-yard box. Smith, a senior from Jamaica, slipped in his first goal of the year with a one-touch past the keeper. Flagler's goalkeeper Andrea Lubbia was able to put a hand on it but the shot was too strong from Smith. In the 39th minute, Luca Abreu used his back-heel to push one past the keeper, however the goal was nullified because of offsides. In the following moments, Abreu was on the end of a cross from Smith and logged the first goal of his career. || UT 2, FC 0

2nd Half | In the opening minute of the second half, the Spartans acquired the ball on a Flagler turnover. A two-on-one in the final third, Omar Thali slipped one by the goalie for the sophomore's first goal as Spartan. Smith corralled the turnover and fed the assist to Thali for the senior's fourth point of the evening. In the 51st minute, the Saints netted their first goal of the year on a world-class finish from Henrique Salomao. Salomao sat on the edge of the 6-yard box, flicked the ball to himself and scissor-kicked it into the back of the net. Flagler clawed back with another goal in the 54th minute, as a corner kick from Dan McGuire found the head of Italo Vichiatto to cut the lead to one. The Spartans earned an insurance goal in the 69th minute as Thali found the ball at the top of the box. Thali, a sophomore transfer from Georgia Gwinnett College, hit a low-driven shot past the goalkeeper into the lower right corner of the net. || UT 4, FC 2
 
INSIDE THE STATS:
  • Rojay Smith tied his career-high with four points in the match, a goal and two assists. Smith previously logged four points in the final game of 2018 against Saint Leo.
  • Jake Richards recorded five of his seven saves in the first half. 
  • In a physical matchup, the two teams combined for 29 fouls and five yellow cards. 
  • Eight different Spartans ripped off a shot as Omar Thali led the team with four total shots. 
  • In 2018, the Spartans did not secure a win until the eighth game of the year. This was the second match of the season for UT.
UP NEXT: The Spartans return home to face Clayton State on Saturday afternoon, as kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Pepin Stadium.
 
Tickets: General Admission ticket prices for all Tampa regular season athletic events are $5. Youth (ages 12 and under) are admitted free of charge. Students and faculty/staff are admitted free with a valid UT ID.
 
Text Alerts: UT also offers a free text messaging service that sends text alerts following all Spartan events. To sign up, please register at www.tampaspartans.com.
 
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