The #16 USF women’s soccer team advanced to the AAC finals with a 2-0 victory over ECU on a very wet Friday night.
FINAL | USF 2, ECU 0— USF Women's Soccer (@USFWSOC) November 3, 2018
YOUR BULLS ARE HEADED TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT SEASON!
Sunday will be the Bulls' fourth championship appearance in six years! We will take on second-seeded Memphis in their first championship appearance!#SurviveAndAdvance #HornsUp pic.twitter.com/W4bNpw0ttp
With the first game delayed by about 45 minutes due to major storms in the area, the Bulls and Pirates kicked off around 7:45. Out of the gate, USF owned the game, with junior striker Evelyne Viens getting a look on net within the first minute of the game.
It was only the 7th minute when the Bulls took the lead. A short corner saw a long ball from sophomore winger Katie Kitching get headed from the back post back across the net, and turned in by junior forward Aubrey Megrath.
With the tone set early, USF continued to own the game from there. The Bulls fired shot after shot at the ECU net, tallying 21 at the end of the night to ECU’s 10. The Pirates found some minor footing at the end of the first half, but that was largely it for them.
Of course, Viens would also find the net. The junior found her 19th goal of the season in the 68th minute with a patented run at the defense. A minor move to get the ball to her right foot sealed the fate of ECU as she blasted home the insurance goal.
“The semifinal game is a trap game,” said head coach Denise Schilte-Brown afterward. “Usually you’re playing an opponent you’ve already played before and beaten them. So do you have the focus and integrity to come out on the field and play the best you can after the last result? We respected ECU and I felt like the girls did a great job of keeping the focus on them.”
“We came out with a really high intensity, had a couple of early opportunities. I think that momentum carried us through the game, so that was a great benefit. Obviously we had the extra rest (ECU played a quarterfinal vs SMU, the Bulls had a bye) and we wanted to use that to our advantage. So for the championship, both of us played tonight and it won’t be easy, but I feel like we’re at home and we’re excited to have this atmosphere. It’s a big deal.”
The Bulls extend their streak to 8 straight wins now, where they’ve outscored opponents 20-5 overall.
“We need to shout out (defenders) Kelli Burney and Chyanne Dennis,” said Viens after the game. “They do an amazing job. And Olivia Cooke when she comes in, she’s amazing. Our defense is something that we don’t talk enough about because our offense is scoring.”
Looking forward, the top seeded Bulls take on the 2nd seed Memphis on Sunday at 2:00 at Corbett Stadium in Tampa. The Tigers took down the 3rd seed C. earlier in the day 1-0 off a late goal that was more the result of a mistake by the C. keeper than a good header from Memphis.
Back in mid October, the Bulls traveled to Memphis and defeated the Tigers 2-0 in a game that stats said USF was heavily outplayed. However, Viens managed to score two on the Tigers, breaking the program career goals record.
“I think both teams feel really good about their seasons, “ said Schilte-Brown. “(Memphis) has had a great year, their RPI is good (#16, above USF at #17), they’re ranked well. They had a great season, it was a close race. So both of us know that it’s going to be a good game and an NCAA berth is in both our futures. So knowing that, kinda takes the monkey off both our backs, go out there and play as good as you can.”
Come out Sunday, it’s going to be a war.
The 2018 @American_WSoc Championship is set! Semifinal victories for the top seeds tonight means that Sunday's Championship match will be between #1 @USFWSOC and #2 @MemphisWSoccer, live on ESPNU at 2pm ET!— The American (@American_Conf) November 3, 2018
Championship Central: https://t.co/6OmadcnsbO pic.twitter.com/8acFAq1PaF