By ROD GIPSON
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002
TAMPA -- The University of Tampa's Sunshine State Conference cross-country opponents are familiar with the Spartans. Now, league officials are following suit. For the fifth time this season, Spartan runners earned the league's weekly awards.
Elias Gonzales, who dominated a field of 51 at the Eckerd Invitational last week, earned runner of the week honors for the third time this season. He also won the award Sept. 9 and 16.
Gonzales ran an 8K time of 25 minutes, 10 seconds at Eckerd, 43 seconds ahead of second place, and led the Spartans to a third-place team finish. Other UT finishers included Ryan Berthart, who placed 10th in 26:59, Nick Kraus was 13th in 27:09, Josh Moore 19th in 28:02 and Brant Speed was 26th in 29:12.
The UT women were just as impressive. Allison Mascas placed third, but her personal-best performance was good enough to earn runner of the week honors. She is the second team member to earn the award after Dee Dee Haefling was recognized Sept. 9.
Mascas finished the 6K run in 24:04 behind Haefling (first in 23:02) and Erin Wilson (23:40), helping UT take the women's title. Liz Bragg, Liz Sheridan and Kim Dunker placed in the top 10 and Delorsa LaChance placed 15th.
Both squads will run at the UF Intercollegiate Meet on Saturday and at the Disney Invitational on Oct. 12.
VOLLEYBALL: After wins against SSC foes Florida Tech and Rollins and a tough loss to No. 7 West Texas A&M, UT is 2-0 and tied for the top spot in league play. The Spartans are 7-6 overall and ranked No. 18 in the nation. Leading the Spartans during their 2-1 week was senior setter Gretchen Naruta, who earned conference player of the week honors.
Naruta had 145 assists in 11 games, along with an .818 hitting percentage and nine kills. She averaged 1.09 digs and 0.27 blocks per game.
In the 3-1 win against Florida Tech, Naruta had 60 assists and a .363 hitting percentage. In the Spartans' sweep of Rollins, she added another 38 assists. And in the 3-1 loss to West Texas A&M, Naruta managed 47 assists.
With three 2-0 teams atop the league standings and two more at 1-1, this weekend's action has added importance. Tonight, UT plays at Barry and Eckerd is at last-place Lynn. On Saturday, UT will play at Lynn and Eckerd and Barry face off in Miami Shores. Eckerd is 9-4 overall, Barry is 6-5 and UT is 7-6. Saint Leo (9-7) and Florida Southern (9-7) are 1-1 in league play.
MEN'S SOCCER: The Spartans have struggled to a 2-4-1 start and opened SSC play with a 4-1 loss to Lynn. UT also has slipped out of the Division II region rankings. The Spartans have been outscored 13-17 in seven games this season. After seven games last season, UT was 6-0-1 and on its way to a 19-0-2 mark and a national championship. It also outscored opponents 22-7 in 2001.
UT hosts Florida Tech tonight at 7 at the new Pepin Stadium and plays at Barry on Oct. 9.
WOMEN'S SOCCER: UT came up short in its showdown with conference leader Barry on Sunday. After being tied 1-1 at halftime, the fifth-ranked Buccaneers took advantage of the Spartans during the final 45 minutes. Barry put the game away with two goals, the first by Pam McDonald in the 64th minute and the second by Marie Gumarsson in the 69th minute. Barry outshot UT 25-6 and had an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. In the first half, Barry struck first in the 15th minute when Emelie Karlsson scored on an assist from Tammie Thornton. UT's lone goal came on a pass from Amy Pfitzinger to Melanie Moody, who completed the play with a score.
UT is 3-5-0 overall and 2-1 in the SSC, but still two and a half games behind Barry, the front-runner at 5-0 in the league and 9-0 overall. UT plays at Saint Leo on Oct. 9.