Friday, October 16, 2009

College Matchday: No.2 Tampa at No.9 Rollins

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m., Cahall-Sandspur Field

NEED TO KNOW: The Sunshine State Conference regular season title won’t be decided on Friday night, but the match-up between the No.2 Spartans and No.9 Tars will go a long way in determining who takes home the hardware in two weeks.

Both sides enter the match undefeated, Rollins (13-0-1, 5-0-0) having defeated No.19 Lynn 1-0 on Tuesday night through an 83rd minute goal by J.D. Gruenewald. The goal was Gruenewald’s team-leading eighth of the season, to go with nine assists which leads the Tars in both categories. The Tars, though, are far from a one-man show up front. Dennis Chin and Bradley Welch have both tallied six goals, with Stephen Wright adding five as the side has averaged three goals per game.

That is likely to provide a strong test of Tampa’s defense, which did not have its best game against Eckerd on Tuesday night. While the 4-1 win may appear to have been comfortable, Spartans goalkeeper Ryan Thompson had to make a number of outstanding saves to maintain his side’s advantage, and was not happy after the game with the quality of shots the Tritons had been able to create.

On the plus side for the Spartans, Pascal Milien appears to be coming into his best form of the season. Milien has scored eight goals on the season, and while he didn’t find the net on Tuesday, he was integral to the opportunities the Spartans created, beginning the move that led to Dominic Goncalves’ opening goal, and being brought down just outside the penalty area after a strong run which led to Dan Ingvarsson’s free kick that put the Spartans up 3-1.

The Spartans won last year’s contest at Pepin-Rood Stadium 2-0. A similar result tonight could result in the Spartans winning their first regular season title since Coach Adrian Bush took the helm of the program in 2005.

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