The USF women’s soccer team cruised to a 2-0 victory over the Troy Trojans Saturday afternoon at Corbett Stadium in their second and final preseason friendly.
Coach Denise Schilte-Brown changed up the formation for Saturday’s game, opting for a 3-5-2 setup (three defenders, five midfielders, two forwards) not used often by the Bulls. Grace Adams, usually a dangerous midfielder on the attack, played all of her minutes on the back line. Defenders Yasmine Hall and Sabrina Wagner lined up out wide in wingback midfield positions, coming further up the field than usual.
The change paid off early in the game. In the 18th minute, Hall sent star striker Evelyne Viens a through ball to the right side of the box, leaving her one-on-one with the unfortunate keeper. Viens crushed the ball near post on the ground for her first (unofficial) goal of the year.
In the 40th minute, freshman Kylee Burroughs made an excellent turn with a fullback covering her to spring herself free. As the keeper came forward to cut the angle, she squared the ball to Leah Ferlin in the center of the box, who found the net for the second time in two games. Look out, Evelyne, there might be a new star.
Between fits of action, the game was largely played in the midfield, and Troy never really looked threatening. They had one chance late in the game that was tipped away on a diving effort by freshman keeper Rikki Farquharson, who played the last half hour of the match. Viens and Aubrey Megrath came alive in the last 10 minutes of play, with Megrath’s last shot of the match clanking off the post.
Coach Schilte-Brown was much more pleased with the day’s effort, and praised the team for committing less errors. She mentioned Farquharson in particular for her big save late in the game and ability to jump in after spending the first hour on the bench. Schilte-Brown’s decision to play in a different formation, she said, was more to build her team’s confidence and principles of play outside of a single set.
The Bulls looked significantly stronger on Saturday than their previous match vs FGCU. While Troy is not on the same level of FGCU, the Bulls played a better game among themselves. Coach Schilte-Brown didn’t attribute the better play to the formation change, but I personally would like to see the Bulls play with a 3-back system more often.
The USF women’s soccer opens the 2017 regular season this Friday at 7:00 p.m. at home vs Charlotte.