The USF men’s soccer team returned to action Sunday night with a 1-0 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions at Corbett Soccer Stadium. It was their first action since being stranded in Atlanta by Hurricane Irma during their trip back from Creighton.
The Bulls were apparently eager to get going again. They peppered the LMU goal in the first half with 13 shots, while Loyola only mustered 5. Still, it took the entire first half to find the breakthrough. As the last seconds of the first half counted down, Stephen Rudderham received a pass from Bradley Fairas 20 yards out and blasted the ball past the keeper far post with one second remaining. He immediately leapt into the students as he was mobbed by his teammates. After being blanked two games in a row, the relief of finally finding the net was clear on the faces of the players.
USF didn’t have the same aggression in the second half. The Lions pressured the Bulls’ back line for most of the second half and took six shots at goal. One notable shot was bound for the side netting until keeper Christian Knight made a spectacular diving save to preserve the clean sheet.
After the game, the team posed with banners the students made, thanking Atlanta United for helping the team continue their training during the hurricane.
Coach Bob Butehorn was relieved to have won the game. “Good first half. Seems to be our MO: start pretty quickly. Just gotta get the second half cleaned up a little bit. But again, it’s a win. It’s a tough team.”
Conference play is on the horizon, beginning with a visit from C. this Saturday night. However, Butehorn isn’t looking past the Bulls’ upcoming game Wednesday night vs. North Florida, who tied UConn at Storrs this past Saturday.