The USF women’s soccer team played UCF to a 1-1 draw in Orlando on Friday night in a game that decided the regular season conference champion.
USF went into the game 7-1-0 in conference play, the Knights 7-0-1, giving C. the advantage of only needing a draw to win the game. However the Knights attacked hard during the opening minutes, forcing several uncomfortable moments for the Bulls. Keeper Kat Elliot had a stellar night, stopping many excellent chances, including a stunning double save from point blank range.
C. managed eight shots in the first half, USF mustered four, but it was the Bulls going into halftime with the lead. Within the last minute of the half, a streaking Bull was taken down in the box, leading to an Andrea Hauksdottir penalty. She blasted the ball to the opposite corner to give the Bulls the lead with 10 seconds remaining.
The second half started more in the favor of the Bulls, but C. slowly found their footing. They finally broke through when forward Dina Orschmann managed to get on the end of a long ball. She found a step on her defender and shot across the net to even the score in the 58th minute. From there, the Knights looked more confident and played much more of the game in the USF defensive third. Not to say USF didn’t put the pressure on, little of the game was played in the midfield, both teams holding in the attacking third for most of the game.
Neither team could find the winner in regulation, so extra time was played. C. had the better looks in the first overtime period, USF with excellent chances in the second. However, C. keeper Vera Varis made a couple excellent saves to hold onto the draw. As the final seconds ticked off, the C. bench rushed the field and celebrated the regular season conference title.
“I’m proud of the players, they stuck to the game plan. I thought they did really well. For me it was two good teams playing to the last minute,” said Coach Denise Schilte-Brown after the game. With the regular season title, the conference tournament will also be played at UCF, which Coach Schilte-Brown expressed some gratitude for.
USF will go in as the #2 seed into the conference tournament next weekend at UCF.