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USF Men’s Soccer loses in the AAC Semifinals to SMU 2-1 in 2OT

The Bulls played valiantly against the no. 2 seed of the tournament, but came up short in double overtime.

USF men’s soccer took the no. 2 seed SMU Mustangs all the way to the last minutes of the second overtime before SMU got a goal off of a corner kick to send the Ponies to the AAC Championship game.

The Mustangs got on the board early in the first half, when Nicky Fernandez hit a volley off of a bad clearance to get one past Harrison Devenish-Meares to give SMU a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. However, USF dominated the first half with a majority of the possession and a 7-2 shot advantage.

The Bulls leveled the scoring late in the second half with senior striker Adrian Billhardt scoring via a penalty kick in the 73rd minute. Billhardt, who has now scored a goal in six straight games, had two shots on goal to give USF some of their best chances of the night.

Ninety minutes was not enough to decide the game. The overtime period was dominated by the Mustangs, out-shooting the Bulls 5-0 in the first overtime period. In the second overtime period, SMU got a corner kick in the 106th minute, where a ball was lifted into the box and scrambled around before finding the back of the net giving SMU the golden goal to advance to the championship.

Bulls players, including Javain Brown and Freddy Gil, were pleading with the referees after the game to review for a handball, but no video replay was awarded and the game went final.

USF men’s soccer will now wait for Monday November 18th during the NCAA Men’s Soccer Selection Show to see if they will continue post season play. The Bulls have an RPI of 30 and good wins under their belt to hopefully boost their resume to the selection committee.

It was a great season for head coach Bob Butehorn and the Bulls. USF won 11 games for the first time since 2015. The Bulls won a total of 13 games in Butehorn’s first two seasons as head coach.