Monday, November 9, 2009

Colleges: Spartans mens, Lions women both head to Rollins for NCAA opening rounds

The University of Tampa men and Saint Leo women will both travel to Rollins College for the opening weekend of the NCAA Division II Soccer tournament. Both brackets were revealed on Monday evening.

No.8-ranked Tampa will face a familiar foe Lynn in the opening round of the tournament on Friday at 4:30 p.m., with another pair of SSC teams making up the other half of the bracket as host Rollins takes on SSC champion Barry.

The Spartans defeated the Fighting Knights 2-1 in double-overtime in the regular season. Lynn has struggled a little since that loss, falling in the quarterfinals of the SSC tournament to Nova Southeastern. The Spartans also defeated the Fighting Knights in the NCAA Tournament last season.

"That's what I thought it would be," Spartans coach Adrian Bush said. "I think it was pretty laid out as to what would happen with the criteria set forth and how they determine it. I think the four teams in there are deserving, Rollins is certainly deserving to host. It's a great region, we've got a lot of respect for all of those teams, the only one we're looking at right now is Lynn which is a fantastic team and very well coached, a lot of very good quality players on their program."

Bush added that he believed if Tampa had won the SSC Tournament against Barry on Sunday, the Spartans would have gotten to host the opening two rounds, but that was now water under the bridge, and the team was looking forward.

"We've got to head to Rollins and get a result on Friday to play in the championship on Sunday," Bush said.

The Lions women will also face SSC opposition in the first round, with Florida Tech their opening opponent in the South Region at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Rollins will wait for the winner, earning a first-round bye after their victory at the SSC Women’s Tournament.

The No.15 Panthers defeated Saint Leo 1-0 in double-overtime when they met in the regular season. They fell to Florida Southern 2-0 in the semifinals of the SSC Tournament on Friday in their last contest.

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