Both USF soccer teams were in action over the weekend. The women started off their regular season with a pair of home games against UCF and Miami, while the men held their final exhibition of the season against Tampa, in the annual Rowdies Cup game.
The women's team started the 2012-13 season Friday night against the 12th-ranked Knights, and quickly ended up on the wrong end of the run of play. Finally USF conceded when a penalty was given in the 27th minute, and Jennifer Martin converted to give UCF a 1-0 lead.
Coach Denise Schilte-Brown was a bit bothered by her team's first half:
"It's all about mindset. You have to come out to win the game, and not allow yourselves to be put on your heels."
Although the Bulls regrouped after half time, they still fell behind 2-0 in the 59th minute when sub Taylor Townsend tallied for the Knights on a free kick. USF cut the deficit to 2-1 on a set-piece header by Marsha Harper, but Ashley Nicol restored the two-goal lead on another free kick in the 83rd minute. The Bulls managed just four shots on goal, and only one from the starting 11.
The next night, the men were in action at Corbett against the University of Tampa. Since the Rowdies Cup was inaugurated in 2005, the Bulls had never lost to the Division II Spartans, but that unbeaten streak came to an end in somewhat fluky fashion, 1-0. The only score of the match came on an own goal by USF in the 50th minute, and while the Bulls pounded the Tampa net with 19 shots and 10 shots on goal, Spartans keeper David Niepel turned in a clean sheet.
Despite being held scoreless, coach George Kiefer wasn't too upset with the offense after the game.
"I was pleased with the chances we created. I feel like if we create these chances on any night, you're gonna get two, three goals. We just got a little unlucky. Their keeper did a good job... what changed the match a little bit was the soft goal we had given up."
After the own goal, Tampa sat back on defense, content to try and hold on for the 1-0 result, which they got, although maybe not fully earned.
On Sunday, the women's team returned to action in their second regular-season match, against Miami. The Hurricanes had just soundly beaten #21 Florida 4-1 on Friday, but they would not have it nearly as easy in Tampa. First, both teams had to endure a two-hour weather delay before starting the match. When it began, both teams were a bit sluggish on offense and muddled through a scoreless first half. After the break, though, the Bulls got the only marker of the contest when Sharla Passariello intercepted a Miami back pass and scored from well outside the box, bouncing one past keeper Emily Lillard in the 51st minute. It was USF's only shot on goal of the match, but they made the most of it, and goalkeeper Christiane Endler made it stand up.
Schilte-Brown was happy with her freshman goalie:
"Christiane coming in as a freshman, and making some of the saves she did... she looked like a seasoned college player. We're excited about her future."
The women's team is 1-1 on the season and heads on the road for their next three matches, while the men prepare for the regular-season opener on Friday at home against Michigan.