– North Georgia had plenty of opportunities Sunday afternoon
to play toe-to-toe with the #1 team in the nation, but the
University of Tampa made a pair of early goals stand up, defeating
the Saints 3-1 at the Soccer Complex in non-conference action.
North Georgia falls to 2-2 on the season, saying goodbye to their perfect home record and ending their three-game home stand at 2-1, while the top-ranked University of Tampa Spartans stay perfect, improving to 3-0 on the year.
Lister Warren had all the right moves in the first half, scoring at the 8:14 and 15:11 marks to give his Spartans an early 2-0 lead. Dan Ingvarsson tallied an assist on each of the goals, while Dominic Goncalves also was credited with a helper in the first score of the contest.
The score remained 2-0 as play resumed in the second period, but Calvin Cook would change that just five minutes after halftime, taking a deflection at the top of the box and sending a shot past a diving Ryan Thompson inside the left post to pull the Saints to within a goal at 2-1.
Less than five minutes later in the 56th minute after a discrepancy on an out of bounds non-call, Mike Bethel sent a line drive shot in the box, deflecting off the leg of a North Georgia player and past Saints’ keeper Rade Tanaskovic to give Tampa a two-goal advantage once again at 3-1.
North Georgia would have countless shots just wide of the their intended mark down the stretch as Tampa escaped with a 3-1 victory. The Saints outshot the Spartans 14-12, while Tampa held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Tampa committed seven fouls to North Georgia’s 10, while the Saints were issued five yellow cards, the last resulting in the second of the game for Caleb Turner, forcing the Saints to play a man down over the final 8:11. Tampa was also issued a pair of yellow cards in the contest.
Thompson improves to 3-0 in goal for the Spartans, allowing one goal while recording five saves. Tanaskovic was the tough-luck loser, falling to 2-1 on the season as he allowed all three Tampa goals while notching four saves.
North Georgia returns to action on Wednesday September 9, traveling to Lenoir-Rhyne University to take on the Bears. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. in Hickory, North Carolina.