TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa Spartans got all they could handle from the Thomas Night Hawks and triumphed over the Georgia side with a one-goal victory in double-overtime.
Final: Tampa 4, Thomas 3
Records: Tampa Spartans (2-2), Thomas Night Hawks (1-5)
Location: Pepin Stadium || Tampa, Fla.
All-Time Series: Tampa now owns a 4-2 lead in the all-time series dating back to 2002. The teams faced-off for the first time since the 2011 season. The Night Hawks won the prior match-up in 2011 by one, 4-3.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half || Tampa had a fairy-tale start to the game with early heroics from Josh Magrath. In the second minute, Magrath scored his first career Spartan's goal on his first shot of the season. Freshman forward Max Brennan assisted the goal for his first career point. Tampa and Thomas battled for possession the remainder of the half. Tampa dealt with the heat by making many first-half substitutions. 18 Tampa players saw action in the first 45 minutes of the game. The Night Hawks equalized the affair on a penalty from #10 Gavin Rochford-Smith in the 34'. Rochford-Smith had collided with fellow England native, Tampa GK Jake Richards, and was controversially awarded a penalty. Rochford-Smith converted with ease on an untouched strike to the bottom corner. Richards was hurt on the collision play, however, he remained in the game for the penalty-save attempt. Richards was consequently subbed out for #1 Tiago Capela in the 37th minute. The Night Hawks stole the momentum of the game with another goal from the 12-yard spot, taking a lead into halftime. In the 44th-minute #27 Selwyn Slotegraaf scored on a clean strike to the bottom-right corner. The crowd remained on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the half.
2nd Half || Omar Thali started the second half for the Spartans and was a significant force off the bench. In the 60th minute, Thali converted a penalty knotting the game at 2-2. The goal was Thali's third of the season. Tampa reclaimed the lead in the 71st minute on a goal by Sr. speedster Rojay Smith. Smith has been phenomenal this season and has a goal or assist in three of four games played. Tampa was unable to sustain their one-goal lead. The Night Hawks converted a late-game set-piece with a goal by #15 Diego Azar. The unassisted goal was scored on a rebound off of Capela's save. Tampa ended regulation with a barrage of shots, sending the game into overtime in exciting fashion. Goalie Ben Barnes deflected a skipping ball off the post in the dire seconds.
First Overtime || Tampa and Thomas counter-attacked constantly throughout the preliminary 10 minutes. Rochford-Smith was a clear threat for the Night Hawks and narrowly missed on a couple attacking opportunities.
Second Overtime || Trevor Stanley scored for Tampa in the 105' for the unassisted game-winning goal. It was the first career goal for the Freshman from Tampa, who also recorded an assist in the game.
INSIDE THE STATS:
There were six yellow cards in the contest. Three for Tampa. Three for Thomas.
Tampa recorded 17 shots, 8 on goal. Thomas recorded 18 shots, 7 on goal.
There were 30 total fouls in the game.
23 Spartans played in the game.
UP NEXT: The Spartans head down to Miami Shores, Florida to face SSC rival and defending national champion Barry on the road. The contest is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.
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