USF women’s soccer fell to FSU in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament 2-1 on Sunday to end their historic 2019 season. The Bulls got on the board early with a goal by Aubrey Megrath in the 5th minute after being assisted by Katie Kitchings. However, the reigning national champions regained control shortly after by controlling possession and stifling any USF attempts quickly.
The tying goal came in the 45th minute when Jaelin Howell hit a one-timer to level the score going into halftime. The winning goal for the Seminoles occurred off of a penalty kick in the 53rd minute to give FSU the lead and an Elite Eight appearance.
Record: 16-5, 7-2 in the AAC
Breakdown: 4-3 at Home, 9-2 on the road. 3-0 at neutral sites
Post Season: Defeated UCF and Memphis in the AAC Tournament, won AAC title. Defeated Florida and Washington in the NCAA Tournament. Lost to no. 1 FSU in the Sweet Sixteen.
September 15th, defeating Wake Forest 3-2
The Bulls got a few early season victories over notable opponents including Auburn and Rice, however the victory at Wake Forest proved that USF is a dangerous for any school. The Bulls and Demon Deacons battled back and forth all night, but the Bulls prevailed thanks to a stellar performance by Evelyne Viens, who notched two goals and eight shots.
November 10th, defeating Memphis to win AAC title 2-0
It was the revenge story for the Bulls all season, and the conference championship game further emulated that. USF had lost to Memphis last season in the conference championship at home, and earlier this season lost to the Tigers again to put Memphis in the driver’s seat for the conference.
USF managed the upset at Memphis to give the Bulls their second title in three years, and three straight years of either winning the conference tournament, or being the regular season champion. The revenge tour continued for USF as they traveled to Gainesville for the opening game in the NCAA Tournament, defeating Florida 4-2 after dropping the home match 2-0 earlier this season.
November 22nd, defeating no. 4 Washington 2-0
USF’s victory over Washington put USF as a serious threat for a Cinderella run in the tournament, and Evelyne Viens would not be denied an opportunity to advance the Bulls. Viens tallied two goals, meanwhile goalkeeper Sydney Martinez collected 7 saves, including a save at a PK to deny the Huskies any chance of getting back into the game.
The win would give USF their first ever appearance in the Sweet Sixteen, facing off against a familiar face in FSU to try to continue their historic run.
August 25th, loss to Florida 2-0
The good news for USF is that the lowlights this season turned into highlights later, the first one came during the second game of the season. Coming off a big win over Auburn, USF took on Florida at home looking to continue their momentum over another SEC opponent. USF outshot the Gators 20-4, but two counterattack goals lead to UF walking away victorious with the Bulls stunned. The two goals occurred within give minutes of each other, and despite consistent pressure in the opponent’s half, the Bulls couldn’t find a way to score.
October 31st, loss to UCF 1-0
For the regular season finale, USF traveled to Orlando to take on UCF for the War on I-4, however the Knights upset the Bulls 1-0 despite once again out-shooting their opponent. UCF’s goal keeper had to make 10 saves in order to keep the Bulls off the board. The loss stung, but the Bulls got the last laugh as they would face UCF eight days later in the semi-finals of the AAC tournament, with USF winning this time 2-1.
NCAA Committee’s decision to send USF to Gainesville in the Opening Round
The NCAA continues to give USF unfavorable draws in women’s postseason sports, this time with the women’s soccer team having to travel to Gainesville for the first round of the tournament, when many thought they would host the first round. It seems as though the Bulls will forever have to play Florida or Florida State every year in the post season so long as those institutions exist.
September 1st, game against Ohio State Cancelled
With Hurricane Dorian looming, it was decided that USF’s match against Ohio State would be cancelled. It wouldn’t have been a resume building game, as Ohio State struggled to 4-10-4 record this year, but it might have been a nice stat padding game.
September 21st, Loss to Texas Tech 2-1
Texas Tech turned out to have a very good year in the Big 12, with an NCAA Tournament appearance as well. It was not a detrimental loss by any stretch, but a game at home that USF would probably want back as they gave up two quick goals in the first half to get in front of the Bulls.
Well, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Evelyne Viens will probably go down as one of the best athletes in USF history, not just in women’s soccer. Her records and accolades are a laundry list for both the school and the conference, but her career as a Bull has come to a close. Additionally, Andrea Hauksdottir, the AAC Midfielder of the Year will also be graduating alongside Aubrey Megrath, Rebekah Anderson, and Brianna Blethen.
In the last four years, this senior class compiled 117 goals, 64 assists, 298 points and 23,495 minutes played and embodied our all-in mentality. Thank you for the memories, seniors!#USFALLin pic.twitter.com/ukkMftLxS4— USF Women's Soccer (@USFWSOC) November 24, 2019
Those are some big shoes to fill, but despite this, head coach Denise Schilte-Brown did a fantastic job of making sure plenty of underclassmen got experience, and two freshmen made All-Rookie team for the conference with Rosalia Muino Gonzalez and Lucy Roberts. Additionally, Sydney Martinez will come back in net for the Bulls, and Syndy Nasello took huge strides as a play-maker for USF offensively. They’ll look for Katie Kitching and Sabrina Wagner to lead the Bulls next year as they begin their quest for four straight championship seasons.