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Late score gives Tampa soccer title

© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 3, 2001

TAMPA -- The Spartans rallied to win their third Division II men's soccer championship, 2-1 over Cal State-Dominguez Hills on Sunday.

Sophomore striker Kareem Escayg came off the bench to score the winner at Pepin/Rood Stadium with 3:40 left, nailing a shot from 35 yards that deflected off a defender.

Escayg also gave Tampa the win Friday against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in the semifinals, 2-1 in overtime.

"The biggest thing for me was just believing in myself," Escayg said. "Earlier in the season, I had been putting myself down, believing I couldn't score. But the coaches just kept encouraging me, and I kept working at it."

The win gave Tampa (19-0-2) its first unbeaten season since 1981 and first title since '94. The Toros (21-2-1) took the lead a minute into the game when defender Joe Cartlidge headed in a corner kick from Sean Lockhart.

With 10 minutes left, the Spartans' Jeff Foxenberger brought the ball up the right wing and crossed it into the middle. It was deflected by a defender. But Josh Huettich knocked it back into the middle, and Jason Bell shot the ball just over the goal line to tie. "This is the biggest win for me," midfielder Marlon Rojas said. "I was on a team that won the high school championship in Trinidad, and this is that same sort of feeling. I just wanted to cry and shout."

Gator women reach semis

Monica Hoyles' goal in the final minute of the second overtime gave Florida a 1-0 victory over UCLA, sending it to its second Division I women's soccer semifinal.

The Gators meet Santa Clara on Friday in Dallas. The other semifinal pits North Carolina against Portland, a 4-1 winner over Texas A&M on Sunday.

The Gators' victory ended the Bruins' home unbeaten streak at 26. UCLA last lost at home Nov.14, 1998, to BYU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA had a 20-4 shot advantage in regulation.

Early in the first OT, Robin Fulton crossed the ball in front of the goal. But Abby Wambach's 12-yard shot was saved by CiCi Peterson.

Toward the end of the second overtime, Danielle Murphy sent the ball to Hoyles from the right wing. Hoyles dribbled to the upper corner of the box. She took a left-footed shot from 17 yards, and the ball deflected off a defender and into the net.

The goal was Hoyles' second this season and the win was UF's first in OT.

"I was going to cross the ball, but there were too many defenders there," Hoyles said. "I figured I might as well take a shot."

Jordan Kellgren set a school record with 16 saves, five more than she had Sept.19, 2000, against BYU. "Going into the game, I told myself that we can't lose if they can't score. So I told myself I couldn't let them score. It was an all-around good effort from our defense."

-- Information from other Times wires was used in this report.

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