Victorious Week for Strikers as Both Divisions Sweep Memphis
TAMPA, FL – The Tampa Bay Strikers defeated the Memphis Americans in all four of their matches this past week, sending Memphis home winless in their first trip to Yuengling Center. The Strikers men were victorious by final scores of 9-7 and 9-3 over the Americans, while the Tampa Bay women secured wins at the full time marks of 6-1 and 5-3 against Memphis.
The Thursday men’s division match was tight throughout. Tampa Bay’s late quarter goals (one in the final minute of each period) were key to pulling out the win. The difference in the game came on a power play goal with 5:41 remaining in the contest to give the Strikers one final lead and a PK score with :29 seconds remaining to put the game away. Both late goals were scored by Q Murana, earning him the 1st Star.
The women were led by Kate Hostage’s early strike, continuing the momentum that ended the men’s game, when she netted a pass from Tesa McKibben after only 14 seconds had ticked away in the game. The Strikers’ defense was on display all night, with Catrina Salazar in goal. She managed to hold the Americans to only one score through 15 shots on goals (14 saves). Hostage finished the night with two goals, as did Ishpreen Marwah, earning them the 1st and 2nd Stars, respectively. Salazar took the 3rd Star.
On Friday, the women led off the action and their stellar defense picked up where it left off the night before, allowing Memphis only 15 shots for the game - a mark that Tampa Bay’s offense doubled (30 shots). Tesa McKibben netted two strikes, the first two scores of the contest, while teammate Andrea Hauksdottir scored and assisted on one, good for the 1st and 2nd Stars of the match.
In the final contest of the two-day homestand, the Strikers men started strong, building a 4-0 lead until the final two minutes of the first half when Memphis found the net for the first time. Tampa Bay scored three more unanswered to start the third quarter. Josh Valverde had two goals and one assist, good for top honors as the game’s 1st Star. The Strikers’ defense was also improved, holding Memphis to their lowest point production of the season by the time the final horn blew. Ramius Stiehler (9 saves), their goalkeeper was named the 2nd Star of the match.
Wrapping up the regular season contests between the two clubs, the undefeated homestand for the Strikers marked the first sweep of an opponent for them in a single series. It was also the first time in Memphis’ National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) history that it wasn’t able to secure at least one win in a single series against an opponent.
The men currently sit in third place in the divisional standings, while the women find themselves in fourth position and currently out of the post-season. The NISL post-season will see the top three regular season finishers on each side compete for the 2023 league titles.
New to the NISL this season, Tampa Bay has come on strong in the second half of the season. Acclamation to the indoor game, additional training time together for the team and successful roster changes have contributed to their recent success. The Strikers have three home games remaining on this season’s schedule: Saturday, April 15, Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30. Tickets can be purchased through the team’s website, Yuengling Center or Ticketmaster.