The No. 20 USF women’s soccer team throttled SMU 5-1 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Tampa.
The game started nearly two hours late because the SMU bus broke down on their drive over from Orlando (having stayed there after playing C. on Friday). The Bulls clearly didn’t appreciate the delay, as junior striker Evelyne Viens scored in the 4th minute of the game off a corner. Unfortunately for junior midfielder Andrea Hauksdottir, she didn’t get credit for the assist because her corner was headed back into the fray by junior defender Bri Blethen.
The goal was the first of two for Viens. She also turned in a very neat volley in the 86th minute off a free kick from senior midfielder Jordan Tuttle. The second goal gave Viens #17 on the season, breaking the single season record for goals in a season, a record set by Kristine Edner in 1998 (and tied by Viens in her freshman campaign).
There's no doubt about it, @EvelyneViens14 has already created an incredible legacy at USF, and she just keeps impressing us.— USF Women's Soccer (@USFWSOC) October 21, 2018
With Viens' two goals today, she broke the USF program record for goals in a season with 17!#RiseUp pic.twitter.com/mdtUn4rfH7
Between the two Viens goals, the Bulls dominated possession and looked very creative in the final third of the pitch. Junior forward Aubrey Megrath collected her sixth goal of the year in the 9th minute. She made an absolutely perfect run through a stationary SMU back line, and Viens fed the ball right onto her foot.
Hauksdottir claimed the other brace. She converted two penalties, one in the 52nd minute and one in the 57th minute. The first was won by Viens after getting wiped out in the box, the other was a handball by SMU off a free kick for USF that was sent into the SMU box.
The Mustangs did manage to strike back once. A long free kick for SMU in the 58th minute was struck beautifully toward the back post. Just out of reach of a diving freshman keeper Syndey Martinez, the ball hit the underside of the bar and bounced straight down and out. Unfortunately, a Mustang striker was in position to head it over a recovering Martinez for the only SMU goal of the night.
The foul count of the game went SMU 18-14 USF, relatively indicative to how the game was. It was a niggly, nasty game at times, with players going into challenges hard and leaving both sets of fans howling early in the game. Somehow, only one card was given out, and it went to SMU.
“This was a far more complete game for us,” said coach Denise Schilte-Brown. “The end of the first half, maybe the last seven minutes, was a stretch where we started to loosen things up a bit. We talked about it at halftime, it’s really dangerous to go against a team when you’re up 2-0, you don’t want to get comfortable. That other team is going to come out hungry and you have to assume they’re going to make some adjustments. I felt like it was a complete game otherwise.”
“I think vs Houston, we had some down energy, shouldn’t have given up some of those goals,” said Viens after the game. “Today we just wanted to finish the game quick. We know last year SMU came back at halftime to almost tie us up at the end of the game, so we just wanted to close this game and be sure to stay on top of the conference.”
“We knew we needed to keep the energy high,” added Hauksdottir. “It’s a hot day, Sunday, second game, so we knew the energy needed to be high.”
The Bulls go into their last game of the season leading the conference by a win. In second, C. It’s War On I-4 week, the Knights come to Tampa on Friday at 7:00. Unlike last year, the Bulls hold the record advantage. A tie or a win for USF means the Bulls win the regular season conference title, and will host the conference tournament.