Last year, the USF women’s soccer season ended at the hands of the eventual national champion Florida State Seminoles. USF was (unfairly) placed in the Tallahassee Regional and had to face the Noles in the second round, where they lost 3-1.
Coming into a new campaign, the team looks hungry to avenge last season. Last year saw them crush program records as both a team and individuals, but losses to Memphis in the conference tournament final and the aforementioned FSU loss in the NCAA Tournament left the program wanting more.
Head Coach Denise Schilte-Brown will ensure her Bulls are battle tested if something like that were to happen again, with five Power 5 Programs on the schedule.Those include Florida, Auburn, Ohio State, Wake Forest and Texas Tech.
USF will play Florida, Auburn, and Ohio State in an 11 day span, with only St. Leo included as a breather the Thursday before taking on the Buckeyes. The Bulls will then have to travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest before returning home to face Tech. From there, conference play kicks off against Tulsa.
Other non-conference opponents in order include at Stetson, North Texas, at Rice and at UTSA. USF will then look to run the gauntlet, playing each AAC team once and ending the season against C. in the War on I-4. The Green and Gold will look to repeat as hosts of the conference tournament if they were to win the regular season.
Denise Schilte-Brown’s staff will have a mixture of tenure and fresh faces, with associate head coach Chris Brown returning for his 13th season at USF.
The combination of Schilte-Brown and Brown have had a steady and consistent improvement in many statistical categories, with the 2018 season being one of the best goal scoring seasons to date (we will get to that soon). After a 15-4 regular season where they went 7-1 in AAC action, it’s no surprise that the pressure is on the Bulls to win the regular season title as well as the conference tournament.
Assistant coach Ivan Lopez is benefiting from a promotion from director of operations last season and is touted for his tactical and analytical approach to the game. His role will be expanded upon with the new title has he’ll help guide the Bulls to new heights.
New to the coaching staff is Chris Barocas, who will serve as the director of operations, He brings 18 years of experience to USF and will primarily focus on goalkeeper development. His resume includes coaching goal-keepers from the US U-17 National team, Orlando City B team and New York Red Bulls Academy. The volunteer coach will be Alex Delgado to round out the coaching staff for the 2019 season.
USF’s upcoming season will benefit from having the four top goal scorers from last season returning, a unit that scored 54 goals on 317 shot attempts. The defense also held strong, recording seven shut outs, with 18 goals allowed the entire season. Looking at the personnel, we will work back-to-front starting the Goalies, and look at each position group by class.
In goal, we start off with Junior Ricquelle Farquharson (Davie, FL), who appeared in five games last year and started one. Farquharson allowed one goal and had three saves, coming in for relief for the recurring starter Sydney Martinez. Martinez, a sophomore from Rincon, Georgia, was the lead Bulls between the goalposts in 2018.
Martinez received many honors last season, including two-time AAC goalkeeper of the week, all-conference second-team and all-rookie team. She recorded a career high 10 saves against a high-powered Memphis team, on her way to 51 saves in the season.
Two freshmen goalies joined the Bulls this offseason with the addition of Katrina Haarmann (Caledon, Ontario, Canada) and Darby Douglas (Madison, MS). Early reports and rumors from camp so far are saying that one of these two freshmen are fighting for the starting job, but nothing concrete yet.
Working our way out, the Bulls defense will be anchored by senior Brianna Blethen (Bradenton, FL), who started all 19 games for USF last season and logged 1,458 minutes. On the year, she gathered three goals and three assists, including a game winner over Tulsa. Joining her in seniority will be Rebekah Anderson (Valrico, FL), who primarily came off the bench, but started in three of the 18 games she appeared in. She accumulated four points, with one goal and two assists.
Junior Chyanne Dennis (Sunrise, FL) helped the defense post seven shutouts last year as she started in 14-of-17 games last season and logged 1,173 minutes. Junior Fanny Pelletier-Laroche (Quebec, Canada) played a key role scoring the game winning goal against Towson early last season. She started 15-of-16 games she played in and accumulated 4 points, including the one aforementioned goal and two assists.
Junior Lexi Dubreuze (Pembroke Pines, FL) appeared in five games last season, providing relief. Junior Sabrina Wagner (New Port Richey, FL) benefitted from Denise Schilte-Brown’s use of versatile players by contributing as both a defender and a forward last season. Wagner started in 18-of-19 games last season, recording one goal and four assists on 1,397 minutes played.
Sophomore Camryn Lizardi (Bradenton, FL), who got playing time for the Puerto Rico U-20 team, will look to get some minutes this year alongside fellow sophomore Mia Palango (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada). Palango appeared in 14 games last year and recorded one assist. Rounding out the defensive roster will be freshmen newcomer Landry Singleton (Lutz, FL), and Lucy Roberts (Cheshire, England), who snuck in some playing time for the U-17 English National Team.
Moving to the midfield, USF will have one of the best midfielders in the nation leading the way, with senior Andre Hauksdottir (Kopavogur, Iceland) looking to build off an impressive Junior year. Hauksdottir was recently named on the MAC Hermann Watch List after being named AAC Midfielder of the year, leading the team in minutes played (1,632), and scored five goals with seven assists.
Three juniors will help generate support this season. Kylee Burroughs (Plant City, FL), Katie Kitching (Bedale, England), and Ashley Meade (Wall Township, NJ) will look to contribute more in the upcoming campaign. Sophomore Hannah Telleysh (Orlando, FL) did not play last season as a freshman due to injury, but we should see her contribute a few minutes this year.
There are three freshmen Bulls to round out the midfield, with Rosalia Muiño Gonzalez (Coruna, Spain), Ivymae Perez (Philippines), and Sophie Shrader (Lithia, FL) all coming to Tampa.
Going to the top of the field, USF has their top two goal-scorers from last season returning for their senior year in Evelyne Viens (L’ancienne-Lorette, Canada) and Aubrey Megrath (West Palm Beach, FL).
Viens shattered many USF records last year, including but not limited to goals (20), points (47), career goals (48). She was also the NCAA Statistical champion in goals per game (1.05), points per game (2.47) and is on the MAC Hermann Watch List for the second straight season. Megrath had an impressive season as well despite splitting time playing defense, scoring nine goals, four of which were game winners to help seal victories for USF. This duo helped lead USF to a perfect 10-0 record at home during the regular season and a +36 goal differential.
The Bulls won’t have any juniors in the forward position this year, giving playing time to some sophomores and freshmen looking to eat up some playing time. Leading the sophomores will be Sydny Nasello (Land O’ Lakes, FL), who is poised for another fantastic season after getting second-team all conference, and all-rookie team last year. Nasello started all 19 games for USF, registering five goals, eight assist and lead USF with 0.41 assists per game.
Sophomores Emma Davies (St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada), who recorded one goal in 17 games and Olivia Cooke (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), who recorded one assist in 18 games, both return. Sophomore Chloe Zamiela (Stuart, FL) joins USF after transferring from West Virginia, seeing minimal playing time in the Big 12. There will be one freshman forward joining the Bulls powerful offensive attack in Bella Kober from St. Augustine, FL.
USF will start this season ranked #18 in the Preseason United Soccer Coaches Poll, and for good reason coming off a 15-4 overall season last year. With much off the team returning, including two MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List players, there’s a lot of optimism about the program.
They currently have all the necessary preparations in place as they look for a repeat NCAA Tournament appearance, where a deeper run could be in the books.