TAMPA, Fla. – Behind the efforts of Eishun Yoshida's 109th-minute blast, the Saint Leo men's soccer team (9-5-0, 4-4 SSC) punched their ticket to the Sunshine State Conference Tournament, stunning archrival the University of Tampa (3-10-2, 3-4-1 SSC), 1-0, Wednesday evening from Pepin Stadium. The loss knocks the Spartans out of playoff contention.
It's the second consecutive double overtime victory for the Lions as each game-winner came in the 109th-minute. The four conference victories give the Lions 12 points in the league, allowing Saint Leo to leapfrog the Spartans in the standings and extend their 2011 campaign into post-season play.
The scoreless first half featured a pair of prime scoring opportunities for the visiting Lions, as two near misses in the 16th-minute nearly provided the Green and Gold with a breakthrough tally. However, it was defense that initially prevailed as the two teams entered the halftime break knotted at zero.
It was more of the same in the second half, as both teams fought for the go-ahead goal. Each securing opportunities over the final 45 minutes of regulation, it was the goalkeepers and defensive squads on both sides that stepped up once again to force to game into overtime.
The first extra session brought more pressure from the Lions ' offense, but unsuccessful attempts at net kept the game scoreless and forced the second overtime.
With the Lions' season dwindling late in the second extra session, one final gasp by a pressing Lions' squad proved to be successful. Initial pressure in the box saw a deflected shot go off a Tampa defender and land at the foot Yoshida. From 15 yards out, the defender settled the ball and calmly rocketed a tailing shot past the outstretched hand of the Tampa goalkeeper into the left corner of the net, advancing the Lions to the conference tournament
McKenzey Scott (9-5-1) was stellar in net for the Lions as he made seven saves en route to his fourth shutout of the season.
In total the Lions registered 19 shots on the evening, while collecting five corner kicks.
Seeding and opponents for the conference tournament are still to be determined. For the latest news, updates, and information on the men's soccer team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.