Spartans Extinguish Fire with Second Half Comeback

Spartans Extinguish Fire with Second Half Comeback

TAMPA, Fla. - After having a two-week period off the field as multiple games were postponed due to weather, the University of Tampa women's soccer team finally played its home opener. A late addition to the schedule, they faced off against the Southeastern University Fire. Tampa handed SEU their first loss of the season as they came back from being down 1-0 at the break to claim the win with a 3-1 final score. A trio of Spartans each recorded their first goals of the season in the match.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:
Final: Tampa 3, Southeastern 1
Records: Spartans (3-0-1), Fire (5-1-0)
Location: Pepin Stadium | Tampa, Fla.

All-time Series: This was only the second matchup all-time between the two schools. UT has won both of the matches.

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HOW IT HAPPENED:
1st Half The start of the game was a back and forth exchange as the home team looked to get back into playing rhythm having been off for two weeks while Southeastern tried to take advantage and find the early lead. Both teams had their backlines tested as the speed up front for both sides was evident with Tampa getting slowed down by offsides while the four defenders for UT, led by Lacy Nasello who was charged with tracking the Fire's most potent attacker Uchenna Kanu, were able to get in the way of passes sent in or get their foot on the ball before they were able to be sent on goal. Despite their best efforts, the visiting team broke through first as Kanu got on the scoresheet for her 12th goal of the season. As has been the story this season, the team did not let the goal beat them and they quickly started to rebound and chased the tie that would not happen in the first half.

2nd Half | For the second game in a row, the team that took the field in the second half looked like a very different team. From the start of the period, the momentum swung in favor of the home side. Nastasia Asgedom was the driving force behind a revitalized and energized team for the second consecutive team as she managed the offense from her midfield position. Five minutes into the half, the team was able to keep the pressure on the SEU end and worked three straight corner kicks. The third one paid off as Asgedom sent in a swinging cross into the box and Nasello met the ball and headed it past the keeper to tie the game up at 1-1. Sparked by the goal, UT kept searching for the lead and attacking in almost every direction. A ball down the right side of the field found its way to Libby Wissman who drove up the end line into the box and sent it across the box to an open Ali Robinson who found the back of the net and gave her team the lead for good. With the lead and the crowd cheering them on, the Spartans kept searching for more as they kept possession and looked to open some breathing room. Robyn-Anne Whittaker who had been testing the speed of the backline of the Fire found herself on a breakaway situation midway through the half. Whittaker outpaced the defenders trying to chase her down and crossed her shot to the opposite post the keeper defended for her first goal of the season, adding the final tally of the night on the scoreboard.  

INSIDE THE STATS:
• UT recorded 17 shots on the night, their second most this season behind the 26 put up in the season opener at Belmont-Abbey.
• Tampa held SEU to five shots in each half while recording eight shots in the first and nine in the second themselves.
• The team held a 7-4 advantage on corner kicks, a category they have won in all four games this season.

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
• Five different players have scored this season for Tampa.
• Five of the eight goals scored by the team have been assisted. 

UP NEXT: The team will have little time to reflect on this game as they will be back on the field this Wednesday when they travel to take on Eckerd College to open conference play. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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