Despite a two-hour rain delay due to large storms that swept through the Tampa area, the University of Tampa got a pair of goals from Pascal Milien to open the season with a 2-1 victory against Florida Memorial on Thursday night.
With 29 minutes played, and the game still scoreless, a large lightning storm and heavy rain forced the teams from the Pepin-Rood Stadium field. With Florida Memorial facing Eckerd on Friday, the possibility to postpone the game wasn’t available, so both teams waited until the storm had passed and the field made playable again.
Milien then gave Tampa the lead six minutes after the break, but Florida Memorial hit back 20 minutes later as Jayson Maltez struck for his fourth goal of the season.
Milien quickly restored Tampa’s lead, though, scoring three minutes later to put the Spartans up 2-1. Tampa coach Adrian Bush said he was pleased with how his side had managed to maintain their focus despite the conditions the game was played in, and the delay.
“It was kind of awkward, a very awkward game,” Bush said. “But I do give our guys credit, because to get up for your first game of the year, and have to take a two hour, 15 minute break, and then come back out in the rain and turn it on again, it’s a lot of character to do that.”
Bush was also impressed with Florida Memorial, which was playing only its second regular season game in its inaugural season.
“For a first-year program, they’re a very dangerous team,” Bush said. “We didn’t overlook them by any means, we scouted them twice, before the game today we knew they were a very good team. Anyone that overlooks that team is going to be in for a rude awakening, because they’re way ahead of a first-year program.”
Tampa travels to Palm Beach Atlantic for its second game of the season on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Spartans won the encounter last season 1-0, and Bush is expecting a tough test from the Sailfish.
“They’re a very good team,” Bush said. “Well coached, we’re going to have to come out and play better than we did tonight.”