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Tampa tops USF 4-1 in surprise revival

The University of Tampa picked up where it left off five years ago against South Florida, winning 4-1 Monday.

The Spartans, ranked No. 5 in Division II, beat Division I-A USF 3-0 in 1992, the last time the teams met in the series, then called the Mayor's Cup. UT evened the series at 7-7-2.

The teams agreed to play the match late last week when South Florida decided it needed another opponent before Saturday's opener in the Conference USA tournament. Texas Pan-American canceled a match with the Bulls that was to be played Saturday.

By playing Monday, the Bulls also ensured leading scorer Jeff Cunningham would be available for the CUSA opener, to be played at USF against the winner of today's match between Memphis and DePaul. Cunningham served a mandatory one-game suspension for a red card in the previous match against Florida International.

"We could have scheduled any Division II team and we could have played a lesser team than UT," USF coach Dave Christiansen said, "but we wanted to play them because we knew it would be a very good game.

"I give (UT coach) Keith Fulk and his staff a lot of credit. I think they can win a national championship."

UT (14-2) took a 2-0 lead on first-half goals by Robby Salvog and Henrik Nebrelius. The Bulls fell to 10-6-2.

"We're extremely pleased," Fulk said. "We're really happy just to be on the same field as them.

"We told our kids that this game was huge back in the day. So I think that we had a focus and a purpose. We were very intense."

USF's goal came in the 36th minute by Adrian Kenney, who made his first start.

The Bulls sat out three players and started five freshmen.