The University of Tampa (19-0-2) won its third NCAA II men’s soccer national
championship Dec. 2 when the Spartans defeated the Cal State-Dominguez Hills
The Toros (20-3-2) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a header by senior
defender Joe Cartlidge that came off a corner from midfielder Sean Lockhart only
1:19 into the game. The Toros defense held strong going into halftime as they
held onto the 1-0 lead. The second half found the Spartans in a familiar
position, down 1-0 with time running out, and needing a comeback to keep their
undefeated season alive. SophomoreJason Bell scored off a header in the 80th
minute to tie the game for the Spartans. Josh Huettich scored the assist on
Spartan forward Kareem Escayg, the hero of Friday night’s semifinal game,
would be the hero for Tampa in the championship game as well. With 3:40
remaining in the game, Escayg stole a pass at midfield and led the Spartans down
the field. Escayg ripped a shot from 25 yards away from the net, which deflected
off a Toro defender and went just over the outstretched reach of CSUDH
goalkeeper Luis Morales.
Tampa goalie Roy Swarts, who continued his outstanding play, stopped four of
the 12 shots he faced. Luis Morales stopped four of nine.
For the Spartans, Escayg, Roy Fink, Marlon Rojas and Robbie Folbrycht were
named to the Final Four all-Tournament Team.
The Spartans won their first national championship since 1994 and completed
their second undefeated season in school history. The first was in 1981, when
the team was 15-0-3 and won its first national championship.
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