By SYDNEY RHODES
After a hard working win against Eckerd College last week, UT Women’s Soccer returns with another great 1-0 win on Saturday night. The team battled against Palm Beach Atlantic under the florescent lights at Tampa’s Pepin Stadium. The players pushed PBA into overtime to record their fourth consecutive win, totaling an impressive season so far of 5 wins, 0 loses, and 1 tie overall.
With 7 shots on goal from Palm Beach and a total of 8 from UT, it’s safe to say the teams were evenly matched throughout the game.
“The most challenging part of the game was that it was more of a self-battling game than anything,” said Nastasia Asgedom, a junior accounting major and midfielder. Despite the challenge, UT held possession of the ball for the majority of the first half, but the women weren’t able to attack the goal as much as they would’ve liked to. The team’s defense held strong and was able to stay connected in order to hand Palm Beach no opportunity to score on goalkeeper Caroline Frykgard.
In the second 45-minute half, UT played similar to the first, in the same formation, holding the ball and letting only a few shots on goal from PBA. Tampa also had a number of opportunities to score this half, but the shots were too far off the goal or saved before the girls had the chance to change what the scoreboard read. In fact, Asgedom had 3 shots throughout the game and defender Sarah Raymond shot 2.
After no goals from either team the game moved into the first half of overtime.
“Just like every team, Palm Beach really wanted to beat us. Every team we play comes out ready with their best game and so we have to not only match that, but rise above in order to get the win,” said Ali Robinson, a junior international business and marketing major and defender. The Spartans did exactly that, as they charged onto the field the hardest they had this game, determined to continue their streak.
In the first 3 minutes of the 5 minute overtime, the ball deflected off a Pacific Beach defender, allowing the Spartans to take the 8th corner kick of the night. Alexa Sheridan chipped the ball, soaring toward the crowd of players in the box and Robinson stepped forward to take initiative in heading the ball across the goal line past the opposing keeper’s reach. As the stands of Pepin roared in cheers, Robinson jumped in excitement with her team at her side as the game winning shot occurred.
This is Robinson’s second game-winning point this season, as well as Sheridan’s second consecutive play that determined the score.
“The difference in this season compared to last year’s is the chemistry. The motivation within the team. The freshman are fitting right in and keeping up the pace the team wants to be at,” Asgedom said. “This is a really good squad and the potential on this team is unbelievable this year.”
Overall, the women’s soccer team is connecting well this season and building off each other, ready to take on any challenge. Ali said that when she thinks of this team, she thinks of it as a family, a family that is willing to fight with each other and for each other.
The girls will return on their home turf again next Saturday night at 7 p.m. competing against Florida Southern. In the Fall of 2016, the Spartans took the win against FSU resulting in 1-0.
“Although we beat Florida Southern last season, we could’ve played quicker and better, which we’re currently working on doing this week at practice so we can do the same on Saturday night,” Asgedom said.
Hopefully, UT will be able to come together and pursue the winning streak to the 5th win in a row this year.
“Our team’s goal is to continue our undefeated streak as we advance through the season,” Robinson said. “And in order to do so, the girls and I have to keep pushing with the same mentality and fight.”
Sydney Rhodes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org