The #25 USF women’s soccer team defeated Cincinnati 2-1 in a tightly contested match Thursday night in Tampa.
The Bulls were held scoreless in the first half despite peppering the Cincinnati goal with shots. They fired off 13 shots in the first half, forcing Cincinnati keeper Madison Less to make five saves. In comparison, Cincy had 15 shots, six on frame the whole game (USF would end the night with 24 shots, 13 on goal)
It would remain scoreless all the way up to the 69th minute before the Bulls would find the net. It certainly was a nice goal, however, as junior defender Bri Blethen (playing in the midfield last night) headed home a free kick from midfielder Andrea Hauksdottir to break the deadlock and bag her second goal of the year.
Junior striker Evelyne Viens eventually found the net. In the 73rd minute, Viens shook her defender and managed to send a rocket to the back of the net. On record watch, Viens needs two more goal to break the program career record.
Viens was largely marked for most of the night by a specific Bearcat. Center back Kiki Lowell was one of the few defenders who was able to handle the combined speed and physicality of Viens. She did an excellent job making sure that Viens had a quiet night, but was unable to keep with her the whole night.
“They did a good job, but I think at the end they got tired and opened up to give me more space,” said Viens about working against the Cincinnati defense. “But can’t get used to having someone, need to stay in my zone, thinking about the positives and not my mistakes before.”
The Bearcats pulled one back late on a questionable penalty on senior defender Kelli Burney, but were able to keep Cincinnati from finding a second. A last minute shot rattled the frame on the last play of the game, but USF was able to escape with a win off a team that’s had the number of USF over the last six years (1-2-3 in the last six games)
“You’re in it, you’re feeling great, then all the sudden they counter attack on you, and at the end of the game they really pushed forward,” said Coach Denise Schilte-Brown after the game. “And they’re hard to score on. (Less) played really well. I think they change their goalkeeper a lot, but I thought she performed well, and to be fair, I think their goalkeepers do seem to play well against us.”
“We made some tweaks (at halftime) because you know they’re going to, but also, even though we were knocking on the door, they gave us some opportunities that we weren’t taking advantage of. We talked about what was presenting itself on the field and how we could do better. To be honest, we said you might as well be two goals down because you’re not going to feel good about yourself if you walk off this field without a win tonight.”
Consider this particular demon excised. By all accounts on the stat sheet, USF outperformed Cincinnati. The Bearcats provided some dangerous plays up their wings with speed, causing the USF fullbacks problems, but the Bulls were able to provide most of the pressure.
USF stays home for a Sunday matinee game vs ECU on the 7th.