The USF Women’s Soccer team revealed their 2018 schedule on Wednesday.
It‘s not as heavy on the names as men’s soccer or women’s basketball, but depth at conference play more than makes up for it.
Let the countdown begin! Your American Champion Bulls return to the pitch on Aug. 8! ⚽— USF Women's Soccer (@USFWSOC) June 13, 2018
READ: https://t.co/wikFiEG1xy pic.twitter.com/E7tWjG3mzz
You might notice the interesting fact that the best team on the schedule is an exhibition game.
The reigning AAC Champions start early with an exhibition on August 8th vs Stetson. The Bulls then travel to #4 South Carolina for a tough tune-up test. The preseason ends at home with a visit by the Washington Huskies.
The season opener is August 16th vs. Towson before two tough tests.
First is a trip to Auburn, who finished 2017 receiving votes, followed by a home game vs #11 Baylor, who made the quarterfinal of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The schedule grants a reprieve vs Detroit Mercy before a trip up north. The Bulls will play a non-conference game at Navy (Navy plays soccer in the Patriot League) and at Delaware. Then it’s one home date vs Western Carolina before going back on the road to start conference play.
The Bulls open conference play at rival UConn and at Temple before coming home vs. Cincinnati and East Carolina. The ladies go on another road trip to Tulsa and Memphis before closing the regular season with a three game home stand vs. Houston, SMU, and C.
Auburn and Baylor are very much the highlights of non-conference play, but this is by no means an easy schedule.
As far as conference play goes, Forget UConn’s final 2017 RPI of 118, the Huskies are regularly a very tough team. On top of that, Memphis, Cincinnati, SMU and C. all finished in the top 75 RPI last year (Navy would qualify for this group at #63 if they were in conference). It will be no easy feat to repeat as conference champions, but USF was extremely successful during last season.
The low point of the 2017 campaign came early with losses to UNC and Ohio State before Hurricane Irma wiped two non-conference games from the slate. After stumbling vs Cincinnati, the Bulls reeled off a 10 game undefeated streak that ended in the NCAA tournament against Florida.
During that time, USF defeated top 10 C. in penalties to win the first conference title in school history.
On top of a successful 2017 campaign, USF retursn plenty of attacking firepower. Evelyne Viens, the first All-American in program history, led the team in goals with 12 on the season. She remains on record watch after her stunning freshman season tied Chelsea Klotz’s record for most goals in a season at 16.
She currently sits at 28 career goals, tied for fourth with, again, Chelsea Klotz. Viens also led the team with assists last season with nine. She currently sits at 13 career assists, sixth all time.
Behind her, Aubrey Megrath was the team’s second leading scorer. She’ll look to build off her six-goal effort in 2017, capped off with a goal in the NCAA tournament vs FGCU and the game winner vs SMU.
Also keep an eye on midfield creator Andrea Hauksdottir, who provided the second most assists in 2017 with eight, also netting four goals herself. She also got some international experience during spring, playing with the Iceland National Team in the 2018 Algarve Cup in Portugal.
The biggest question mark going into the season will be keeper. Longtime keeper Kat Elliot graduated this past year, leaving Ricquelle “Rikki” Farquharson the sole netminder on the roster with NCAA experience. She appeared in four total games in 2017 and registered four saves.
She’ll be competing against freshman Sydney Martinez out of Springfield, GA. Martinez comes out of the Jacksonville Armada Youth Academy, as well as having time with the Olympic Development Team in Region III.