Tampa Captures D-2 National Title.
The Spartans captured the 2007 NCAA Division II title the hard way, beating five-time national champion Franklin Pierce College in a penalty kick shootout.
It prevented a sweep of national titles for Franklin Pierce, which defeated Lincoln Memorial (1-0) in the men’s title game. Both men’s and women’s championships were held in Orange Beach, AL, with the University of West Florida as the host.
With the game scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods, the Spartans took the shootout 3-1 to finish the year with a 19-2-4 record.
It marked the first ever double-overtime match in Division II women’s championship history and the first decided on penalties. It marked the third straight year the women’s final went to overtime.
“Even though it was a 0-0 tie, I thought it was an exciting game,” said Tampa’s first-year head coach Gerry Lucy, who defeated Franklin Pierce as head coach at West Chester (PA) University in last year’s quarterfinal round.
Tampa goalkeeper Shannon Aitken (Land O’ Lakes, FL) was perfect in goal, but the defense was strong and she was required to make only two saves. The shutout was the 14th of the season for Aitken, and she concluded her UT career with a school record 40. Aitken’s 59 career wins is also a UT record.
The shootout session needed just four shots for each team as UT took a 3-1 advantage. Franklin Pierce went first in the shootout, but Aitken turned away the first three kicks. Ashley Flateland (Fox Island, WA) clinched the championship for Tampa in the fourth round with a low shot to the left side.
“I just didn’t want to miss it,” said Flateland. “I was thinking about our keeper and I didn’t want to let her down. She had played so well. It’s a good feeling, but I am more proud of my defensive play.”
Flateland had been assigned to marking Franklin Pierce star Gabriela Demoner and she shut her down.
Tampa also won a shootout in the quarterfinals, again 3-1, to knock out Columbus State after the two teams played to a 2-2 draw. The Spartans upset top-ranked and undefeated Grand Valley State 2-1 in the semifinals with Marissa Bernard getting the game-winning goal.
Tampa drew a first-round bye and then advanced with a 1-0 win over Quachia Baptist, which had beaten Nova Southeastern 2-0. The Spartans shutout Montevallo 2-0 in the round of 16. Montevallo had advanced with a 2-0 win over West Florida and a 2-1 overtime victory over St. Leo.
Columbus State made a great run to the quarters, beating Queens 5-0 and then upsetting Carson-Newman 3-0 and Tusculum 2-0