The USF women’s soccer team emphatically won their first game in the NCAA Tournament with a massive 5-1 win over Albany on a cool night in Tampa.
The Bulls put together a complete victory over the Albany Great Danes, continuing Albany’s very bad weekend vs USF athletics. The 21-7 shot count in favor of USF is pretty indicative of how the game went. The Great Danes scored late off a pretty corner for senior Savanah Courtney’s first career goal, but that was the extent of the Albany offense for the night.
The Bulls opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Junior striker Evelyne Viens lost the ball while fighting off multiple Albany defender, but the ball rolled to an unmarked Aubrey Megrath. The junior winger set up and passed the ball to the far post to open the floodgates.
Viens would get her goal. In the 33rd minute, senior defender Kelli Burney sent a long ball down the middle that the Albany defense was slow to pick up on. Viens ran onto the ball and sent it across the frame off her right foot.
Freshman forward Syndy Nasello would get to claim a goal as well. In a box scramble in the 53rd minute, Nasello would get the last touch on a ball that trickled in the far post. She also provided a stunning assist to Leah Ferlin. Nasello picked out the absolute perfect cross for the sophomore forward in the 73rd minute, and Ferlin headed home the 4th goal from point blank range.
The fifth goal went to senior midfielder Jordan Tuttle. She also had a virtual tap in off a wonderful cross, this one from junior midfielder Rebekah Anderson. The 85th minute goal summed up the fact that top to bottom, USF was simply the better team.
“We were expecting a good opponent, disciplined, their back four can be difficult to break down,” said head coach Denise Schilte-Brown after the game. “They’re smart with their holding mids, so it took us a while to break that down. We knew we would, but I was just so proud of the girls because you’re in the NCAA tournament, you want to win, and having patience is a ridiculous request at times.”
“I think the difference between a good USF team and a great USF team is the level of confidence. It’s all about their mentality. If they believe in themselves, then their feet are excellent, because we have some really high technical players on the pitch. When we’re keeping the ball and using that confidence, then it opens up doors for some excellent, dangerous attackers.”
Up in Tallahassee, #1 seed FSU defeated Loyola Chicago 1-0. The Bulls will travel to FSU next Friday to take on the Seminoles in the second round of the NCAA tournament.