The National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) match came after the Tampa Bay Strikers men’s team lost its own game 12-7, and featured a pair of hat tricks from Kayla Gray and Kate Hostage, plus two more goals from Kiley Williams.
Columbus, despite scoring first, did not have the speed or skill to keep up with Tampa Bay, which raced out to a 5-2 lead before halftime. Strikers goalkeeper Arleyna Loss also turned in a strong performance that saw her make eight saves.
The women will work to go 2-0 this weekend, with the men looking for their first win.
UPDATE: In a press release, Strikers owner Andrew Haines cited "unforeseen circumstances" in an announcement about the team's games on Feb. 4 and Feb. 19, which have been rescheduled to April 6 and April 30, respectively. Tickets will be honored at the new dates, and refunds are available at point of purchase. The rescheduling means Tampa Bay Strikers' next match is Saturday, Feb. 18 against Central Florida Crusaders at Addition Financial Arena in Orlando.
As previously reported, each game day features a double header where the men's side plays first in matches that take place over four, 15-minute quarters and on a turf field lined with boards somewhat similar to those on a hockey rink (there is no aggressive checking, or fighting, sorry agro sports fans).
Last Sunday’s match featured a light, but enthusiastic crowd, and it was special to see a new generation of fans in front of indoor soccer, since the Tampa Bay Rowdies only played indoor from 1975-1984. What's more is that both sides, which train at Cinco Soccer in East Tampa, feature a host of local athletes.
After Saturday’s match against Memphis, the Strikers—with Martin Gramatica as head coach—have just six more home games including one on Sunday, Feb. 26 against cross-state rival from Orlando, the Central Florida Crusaders.