TAMPA, Fla. – The West Florida men’s soccer team was locked in a scoreless tie with the University of Tampa through the first 63 minutes of play in non-conference action at Pepin Stadium on Friday, but a Ryan Griffin goal gave the Spartans the lead and UT held on for a 1-0 shutout win over UWF. With the loss, West Florida fell to 2-2-1 overall, while Tampa improved to 4-2 with the win.
The first half was a defensive battle, as the Argonauts limited Tampa to just one shot through the first 45 minutes of play. UWF had four chances, with senior Bruno Ferreira (Belo Horizonte, Brazil/Parkland) giving the team its best shot with a low liner from outside the box sailing wide left. Ferreira had to leave the game with an injury after that shot, and he did not come back in the second half.
The teams saw more attacking opportunities early in the second half, especially UWF. The Argonauts had two shots and a corner kick in the first three minutes, but the UT defense kept West Florida off the scoreboard. The Spartans also had their chances, including two shots saved by senior goalkeeper Elliott Purdom (Wilmslow, England/Viterbo) in the span of 10 minutes.
UT’s third shot on goal in the second half was the difference-maker; Kemal Malcolm sent a through ball to the top of the box from the right side, and Griffin received the pass in stride and beat Purdom on the left post for the go-ahead goal. The Argos kept battling, but a shot by senior Daniel Martini (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/Penn State) saved by Tampa goalkeeper David Niepel in the 74th minute would prove to be the Argos’ last.
UWF finished the match with a 10-8 shot advantage, but the Argos were held without a shot over the game’s final 16 minutes. Tampa held the advantage in corner kicks at 7-3, and they were also called for 12 fouls compared to UWF’s 10. Niepel made two saves in the shutout for the Spartans, while Purdom finished with three saves for UWF.
West Florida will head north to face No. 8 Saint Leo (4-0-1) on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, and fans can follow all of the action live at www.GoArgos.com.