The USF men’s soccer team lost to Tulsa 4-2 in penalties in the conference final at Corbett Stadium in Tampa on Sunday.
The Bulls scored what seemed to be the game winner in the 52nd minute when Nazeem Bartman fired a one-time shot that tipped off a Tulsa defender and under Tulsa keeper Jake McGuire. However, Tulsa immediately went on the attack and scored the equalizer twenty minutes later off a long ball that somehow got over a charging Spasoje Stefanovic.
After the goal, Tulsa maintained most of the attack through the second half and overtime. USF had a few chances from Mfeka and Bradley Farias, but the sustained pressure ensured that USF’s chances were limited at best.
In penalties, Jake McGuire saved two penalties while Tulsa’s only miss was a shot skied over the bar. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Tulsa was excellent at the shootout, as this is their third straight conference title won on penalties.
Coach Kiefer praised Tulsa’s halftime adjustments that led to their sustained pressure, but expressed optimism going into the selection show held earlier today.
“It’s actually better in the big scheme of things because it goes down as a tie and our RPI is good, so we expect to be at home on Thursday night in the NCAA. After a PK loss, there is a little more emotion, so how do you get the guys back and lift them up? We’ll do a good job having them ready for Thursday.”
His hunch was proven correct, the Bulls drew FGCU in the first round of the NCAA in Tampa, to be played this Thursday at 7:00. The Bulls fell to FGCU 3-2 in Ft. Myers earlier this year, but look to reverse the result behind their boisterous home crowd. Winner plays at North Carolina on Sunday.