The 2018-2019 sports season opened with an overtime win for women’s soccer 2-1 over Towson on a wet, stormy Thursday evening in Tampa.
An hour and a half rain delay caused the game to kick off at 8:30. Then another storm cell caused the second half to be delayed until 10:05. It turned into a rather late night for everyone, but the Bulls will be the ones sleeping easy after picking up the win.
The game didn’t start promising for USF. An early one-on-one chance for USF was denied by Towson keeper Megan Collins, then the Bulls found themselves defending. As Tiger Justine Stoner went to cross the ball in, it skewed off her foot toward the back post. Freshman keeper Syndey Martinez got caught coming forward and was unable to prevent the ball from looping over her into the bottom corner.
That was Towson’s last real look on net, USF played the remainder of the game commanding possession. Both junior Evelyne Viens and freshman Syndy Nasello got excellent looks on net but were unable to find a goal in the first half.
The second half started with a bang. In the 48th minute, junior Andrea Hauksdottir slipped a ball through the Towson back line to junior Aubrey Megrath. After 45 minutes of frustration, Megrath caught Collins off her line and hammered a hard dipping shot directly over her for USF’s opening goal.
The goal gave Towson a quick burst of energy, but USF quickly regained control and pressed the attack. Three balls would cross straight through the six yard box in the final minute, but no Bulls were able to connect and the game would head to overtime.
It took four more minutes, but USF found the winner in the 95th minute. Off a corner, Hauksdottir found sophomore Fanny Pelletier-Laroche through traffic for Pelletier-Laroche’s first goal for USF. Collins came off her line and could only wave at the ball as Pelletier-Laroche was immediately dogpiled by her teammates.
“Although I think we’re seasoned, we have young additions in there. So the more those young players get of this experience, the better we’re going to get,” head coach Denise Schilte-Brown said after the game. “You can never replace the feeling of a real game.”
When asked about winning the second-straight season opener in OT, Coach Schilte-Brown managed to laugh off any nerves she had. “It’s fun. It’s a little bit more exciting. Not for the coaches, but for the players to not give up and keep going. And to get that goal? Yeah, that’s fun.”
USF travels to face Auburn Sunday before a monster home clash vs Baylor next Friday where they’ll debut USF’s first black uniforms.