The Spartans got first half goals from Dan Ingvarsson and Greg O’Connor put the Spartans ahead, but it took some excellent goalkeeping from Ryan Thompson, and a late goal to be denied on an offside call, for the Spartans to advance to the quarterfinals.
“It gets us one step closer and we have to continue to improve in a lot of areas,” Spartans coach Adrian Bush said. “We will enjoy this and it’s back to work for our players tomorrow. With our staff, there are no days off; our prep is immediate.”
The Spartans opened brightly, and Ingvarsson opened the scoring in the 26th minute as he curled a free kick from just outside the penalty area into the net for his fifth goal of the season. The Tars then went close to tying the game as the Tars leading scorer J.D. Greunewald was denied by Thompson before O’Connor latched onto a pass by Brian Fekete and fired a shot in from the left corner of the penalty area.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the Tars increased their intensity to start the second half, but it was matched for the most part by the Spartans as neither side was able to gain an upper hand. That changed midway through the half as an angled cross into the penalty area from Jacob Deloach was headed home by Bradley Welch to make it a one-goal game.
The Tars then appeared to have tied the game with nine minutes to play, but Dennis Chin had his goal denied by the assistant referee's raised flag, signalling an offside call. Four minutes later, Thompson kept the Spartans ahead as he punched clear a header by Thomas Biddenger, and Tampa was able to hold on for the final five minutes.
“We want to tip our hats to Rollins, their coaching staff, and program,” Bush said. “This is a program with class and an outstanding team. This was a great win on the road against a very good team.”
The Spartans will travel to face No.9-ranked Lees-McRae in the quarterfinals on Saturday after the Bobcats defeated No.24 Anderson University 3-2 in their second round contest.