Pascal Milien scored his 10th goal of the season, and Ryan Thompson made a pair of crucial late saves as No.9 Tampa defeated Florida Tech 1-0 to move into a tie with Rollins for first place in the Sunshine State Conference.
With the game deadlocked entering the second half, the Spartans had a strong spell of pressure in the first 10 minutes after the break, Brian Fekete and Ryan Griffin both forcing saves from Florida Tech goalkeeper Derrick Hackett. The game continued to flow back and forth until the 79th minute when Lister Warren found Milien on the left side, and he fired his shot into the left side of the net to the Spartans the lead.
The Panthers tried to rally, Naru Wild-Putsorn shooting over the bar and Nicolas Garcia having his shot blocked before their best chance came in the 88th minute. Peter Mindley had his shot saved by Thompson, who then recovered in time to stop David Tufft’s chance on the rebound.
According to Spartans coach Adrian Bush, Thompson was a game-time decision before kickoff, but his six saves earned the senior his third shutout of the season.
"The difference-maker today was Ryan Thompson," Bush said. "To come into today as a game time decision and for him to deliver that type of performance is nothing short of amazing."
The Spartans face their final non-conference game of the season against Johnson and Wales on Monday before closing the regular season against rival Saint Leo on Thursday night. The Spartans could have a chance to win the SSC regular season title after Rollins lost its first game of the season 2-0 to Barry on Saturday night, leaving both sides with 18 points in the standings with one game to play.