A pair of late first half goals, and another early in the second, put a major dent in the University of Tampa’s Sunshine State Conference title hopes as No.9 Rollins remained undefeated with a 3-2 defeat of the No.2 Spartans at Cahall-Landspur Field on Friday night.
The loss was Tampa’s first of the season, and they would now need the Tars to slip up in one of their final two games against Barry or Florida Southern in order to try and claim a share of the title.
Tampa (10-1-1, 4-1-0 SSC) opened well, as both Lister Warren and Pascal Milien were denied goals by Rollins goalkeeper Aaron Rokeach within the first 10 minutes. While Tampa controlled the flow of the game, though, it didn’t prevent the Tars from finding opportunities, and they finally took advantage in the 40th minute as a long-range effort by Jacob DeLoach screamed into the right side of the net.
The Tars (14-0-1) doubled their advantage just three minutes later, as J.D. Gruenewald scored his team-high ninth goal of the season, his shot eluding Tampa goalkeeper Ryan Thompson before creeping over the goal line.
Tampa tried to regroup, but Rollins maintained its pressure to start the second half, Thompson making three saves to start the half. The Tars scored again in the 55th minute, though, as DeLoach’s corner found Jack Clifford for a header into the net.
The Spartans responded quickly, as Dan Ingvarsson scored his third goal in two games in the 57th minute. As he had against Eckerd on Tuesday, Ingvarsson bent a free kick into the net from just outside the penalty area.
Tampa continued to try to mount a comeback, and got a second goal through Greg O’Connor to set up a frantic final four minutes. The Spartans were unable to create another opportunity to tie the game, however, sending the capacity crowd into celebration.