Late First Half Goal, Lockdown Defense Leads Clayton State To 1-1 Tie With Tampa

Clayton State battled for the full 110 minutes as they earned a 1-1 tie with Tampa in an NCAA Division II men’s soccer game yesterday.

In what would prove to be both a highly competitive and entertaining game, both teams came out firing and playing physical. The Lakers would make some shots over the first 8 minutes, one requiring a save, while UT would deliver 4, 3 of which would come in quick succession from 14:59 through 17:08. The last 2 of those would see junior goalkeeper Leuri Fraire make saves on both.

Interspersed with a pair of shots by Clayton State, the Spartans would fire off 3 more shots through the 30th minute. It would be instant offense just after that for Tampa, however, as Travis Foster checked in.

Little more than a minute after coming in he took a cross from Marcel Salokat on the right side of the net and just chipped the ball over the outstretched hands of the charging Fraire. When it landed in the back of the net at the 32:02 mark the Spartans would have a 1-0 lead.

It wouldn’t last long, however, as the Lakers answered back near the half. Following that score neither team registered a shot over the next 7+ minutes. Freshman forward Brad Kay and sophomore midfielder Mitro Turunen delivered attempts only to see them go wide left and be blocked.

That would change in the 44th minute as freshman midfielder Jack Stevens penetrated deep to the left side of the goal and then dished to his right at the last second. That move would put the keeper out of position and the ball on the foot of Kay, who promptly deposited it into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 with 43:24 gone by. That margin would then hold to, and through, halftime.

The second half would see an offensive barrage by the Spartans as they accounted for 16 of the 24 shots over the final 45 minutes of regulation. Of those only 2 would require saves and the majority of those attempts came in an 8 minute span as they fired off 7 shots between the 57th and 65th minutes.

For Clayton State, their best opportunities in regulation came in the final minutes. Senior defender Kwaku Dwamena put a shot on net at 85:57 but it would be his fellow scoring threat, junior forward Dean Foster, that had an even better shot. With 88:03 gone by he elevated just off the far left corner of the goal, heading the ball and just missing a potential game winner as the ball sailed over the crossbar.

With no further attempts in the final minutes, the teams headed to overtime where UT fired off shots, neither on net. Dwamena would give the Lakers a chance with a shot on goal midway through the frame only to see Jack Richards come up with the save.

The second overtime period would see a flurry of activity as Tampa fired high in the 102nd minute and junior defender Chevaun Blake delivered a shot requiring a save with 103 gone by.

The best opportunity, however, would come in the 105th minute as the Spartans’ Salokat got off a close shot from the right side of the goal mouth and Fraire just tipped it over the cross bar. He and the Lakers’ defense would then defend on consecutive corner kicks before holding on for the 1-1 tie.

Foster led the way for Tampa with their lone goal while Salokat had the assist. Constantly in the offensive end, Rojay Smith had 7 shots with a pair of net and Toni Soler had 6 shots with 2 on goal. Richards continues to keep the Spartans in games as he played all 110 minutes, making 5 saves and allowing just the one goal.

For Clayton State, it would be Kay with his second goal of the week with Stevens delivering the assist. Kay would also lead with 5 shots and Dwamena would have 4, 3 of which were on net. There was alot of action in this game, such an exciting night.

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