Tampa, Fla. (November 4, 2007) – A goal by junior forward Marissa Mohammed, two minutes and 28 seconds into the first overtime provided the University of Tampa (16-2-2) women’s soccer team a 1-0 victory over Saint Leo University (15-4) Sunday afternoon in the championship match of the Sunshine State Conference post-season tournament.
The win also enabled the Spartans to gain a measure of revenge. The Spartans, fell 1-0 to Saint Leo in regular season play at home.
Saint Leo now must wait until the bids are announced Monday for the South Region tournament. Six teams are invited from eight regions. The Lions were ranked No. 2 in the most recent NCAA, South Region poll.
The top two seeded teams will host matches this Friday and Sunday.
The conference championship match was physical from start to finish as a total of 30 fouls were called. 16 went against Tampa and 14 against the Lions.
An 11-person, All-Tournament team was chosen and the Lions were represented by four players. They included junior goalkeeper Lauren Hudson (Odessa, Fla.), sophomore forward Hannah Beard (Liverpool, England), senior defender Ginger Davenport (Bradenton, Fla.) and junior midfielder Evelina Viiri (Heby, Sweden).
Mohammed’s game winning goal came from 10 yards out in the middle of the box off a rebound. Shelby Kuni’s shot was stopped by Hudson. The ball bounced around before settling at the foot of Mohammed, who sent it into the back of the net to end the match.
Neither team was able to get a shot off on goal in the first half, thanks mostly to some great defensive play from both sides. Tampa managed to get off four shots, while the Lions had none.
Action picked up hot and heavy in the second half with Tampa coming close to taking the lead with 27:07 left in regulation on a screamer off the boot of Kuni that hit the right post and bounced away. Saint Leo’s best chance of scoring in regulation came with 8:27 showing on the clock on a run that was almost converted by freshman defender Dari Alcantara, but her curling shot was hauled in by Spartan keeper Shannon Aitken.
Tampa had one more scoring opportunity off a free kick, but Hudson made a great stop on Kuni’s bullet.
On the day, Tampa outshot Saint Leo 14 to 4. The Spartans had five shots on goal to three for the Lions.