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USF Men’s and Women’s Soccer Cruise To Weekend Wins

A brace from Adrian Billhardt helps put the men in a tie for first in the conference, while the women throttle another conference opponent with ease.

Men’s soccer and fans celebrate a goal by Alex Zis
Carl Zee

Saturday Night - USF Men’s Soccer 5, Cincinnati 2

What started as a nervous affair turned into a comfortable rout for the men’s soccer team in Tampa on Saturday night.

The Bearcats took an early lead, heading home a free kick in the 19th minute, causing some concern among fans. However, the Bulls battled back and equalized before halftime when Trey Jackson was sprung free down the right side. He cut left and scored past the near post in the 35th minute.

The Bulls took their first lead of the night in the 48th minute when Josue Monge was taken down in the box and Adrian Billhardt converted the penalty in the 48th minute. However, Cincinnati would respond in the 58th minute, slicing through the USF defense to tie the game again.

It would be Gonzalo Rodriguez who scored the game winner in the 64th minute, slamming home a loose ball in the box that pinballed off several players after a corner kick. The students were bolstered by the appearance of the football team when they arrived on campus, and became extra rowdy when USF took the lead for a second time. It appeared to get in the head of Bearcat keeper Pearce Skinner, who held the high-powered USF forwards in check during the first half by stopping several point-blank shots. But after the third goal, he was audibly telling off his defense after several USF rushes. It didn’t help when Alex Zis forced a turnover in the attacking third and scored a rocket from 20 yards out in the 79th minute.

Billhardt would add the final insult, collecting a pass from Rodriguez and making a run down the left line. As Skinner charged out to meet him, Billhardt deftly chipped the ball over him for the brace in the 86th minute, sending fans into a frenzy. The Bulls would cruise home to chants of “top of the table.”

“Glad we’re responding to goals. Didn’t start the way I wanted to, but glad we’re responding when we get scored upon,” said Coach Butehorn after the game. “We need to get that tightened up, but the kids are responding the right way, the attitude is good.” While the Bulls did score 5 goals today, Coach Butehorn’s biggest concern was preventing goals on the other end of the pitch.

The Bulls sit tied with UConn at 2-0 in conference play. Coming up, they have a monster conference matchup against three-time defending AAC champion Tulsa in Tampa next Saturday.

Sunday Afternoon - Women’s Soccer 3, Tulsa 0

It was a sweltering Sunday afternoon at Corbett — so hot that the teams took two water breaks each half, which I have never seen before.

It was also a blistering start for USF, taking only 99 seconds to get on the board. Evelyne Viens got on the board for the Bulls with a sublime bit of skill. She nutmegged (play a ball between the legs of a player) a Tulsa defender, split the center backs, and dribbled around the keeper to score her 7th goal of the year.

The day did not get better for the Tulsa defense, conceding an own goal in the 25th minute. As Kylee Burroughs sent in a cross, Tulsa defender Amanda Creason tried to clear the ball and accidentally smashed it into her own net. The Bulls would terrorize the Tulsa defense for the rest of the afternoon, ripping 19 shots on the day, 12 on frame. Tulsa tallied 11 shots, but USF keeper Kat Elliot was only called into action for two saves.

Leah Ferlin capped off the scoring in the 71st minute when she tried her luck from 20+ yards and hit a curler straight into the side netting. From start to finish, USF dominated Tulsa, allowing Coach Denise Schilte-Brown to allow several younger players to get some significant playing time at the end of the game.

The Bulls hit the road at SMU on Thursday and Houston on Sunday. They get a week and a half off before returning home to face Temple on Thursday, October 19.