One week after snatching a late victory against the Savannah College of Art and Design, the No.1-ranked University of Tampa men’s soccer team hits the road for what appears to be one of the toughest tests in its regular season schedule against No.22 West Florida in Pensacola tonight.
While not a conference game for either side, it is a true test of where each side stands ahead of conference play. Both teams reached the NCAA South Region tournament last season.
“Especially the last couple of years, its been a very good contest,” Tampa coach Adrian Bush said. “Two teams that have a lot of respect for each other, and two teams that expect to be in the regional when the bids come out in November.”
The Argonauts have only lost once, a 2-0 defeat against Rollins College last Friday, but rebounded with a 6-1 win against Florida Southern on Sunday. Starting forward Jay Mainville has four goals in five starts, while Stephen Munoz has four goals and four assists predominantly coming off the bench to lead the Argonauts with 12 points.
Add in a strong student following at the UWF Soccer Complex that has made it a tough place to play, and Bush is under no illusions as to what his side will face.
“It’s a very tough place to play,” Bush said. “They get a good crowd, they get a lot of support, and they’re well organized, a strong team.”
After only earning victory in the final 30 seconds against Savannah, Bush is hoping to see a more consistent and energized effort from the Spartans. With a week of training devoted solely to how he wants his side to play, and emphasizing what a victory could mean in the long-term, Bush is expecting his side to raise its game.
“Our pregame focus is to be better as a team,” Bush said. “I think outside of the Clayton State game, this is one game that I think the guys know how important it is. I’m anxious to see them really perform, because this game is very meaningful. It’s not a conference game, but it’s a huge region game.”