Entering Saturday’s men’s soccer match between USF and Saint Louis, SLU forward Dipsy Selolwane had scored in each of the Billikens’ nine matches.
He continued his streak Saturday, and then some.Selolwane’s four goals lifted SLU to a 5-1 win vs. the Bulls (10-3, 3-2 in Conference USA), and gave the No. 3 Billikens (10-0, 6-0 in C-USA) their best start since 1971.
“He had an exceptional night, there’s no question,” said USF coach John Hackworth. “I mean, that was definitely the best individual performance I’ve seen in a long time.”
Selolwane gave the Billikens the lead after just 44 seconds, taking a pass from David Beck and firing in from 10 yards. Preseason C-USA Player of the Year Brad Davis made the score 2-0 in the seventh minute, again assisted by Beck. USF goalkeeper Troy Perkins parried away a shot by Beck, but the rebound fell to Davis, who fired into goal from 12 yards away.
Less than six minutes later, USF junior midfielder Jeff Thwaites scored the Bulls’ lone goal, assisted by Brandon Streicher, and the score remained 2-1 at halftime.
The rest of the night belonged to Selolwane. A national player for Botswana, Selolwane scored in the 61st and 66th minutes from six and 12 yards, respectively, both assisted by 2000 C-USA Player of the Year Jack Jewsbury and finished off the scoring with another 10-yard strike in the 67th minute. Selolwane finished with 11 shots, and could have had two more goals, but he hit a penalty kick off the post and shot just high from 18 yards out in the first half.
SLU coach Dan Donigan, who is off to the best start by a Billikens first-year coach, praised Selolwane for his mental toughness.
“It was Dipsy’s mental toughness that was most impressive,” Donigan said. “He could have had four goals in the first half, he was down about it and he easily could have fallen into a mental funk.
“But he came out and finished three goals in the second half that were more difficult than the ones he missed in the first half.”The Billikens have now won 16 consecutive matches dating back to last year and have beaten the Bulls three consecutive times. The victory was also the ninth consecutive home victory for Saint Louis vs. USF.
“For the second game in a row, we have been terrible in 1-vs.-1 matchups, especially in the back,” Hackworth said, referring to USF’s 5-0 loss to North Carolina Oct. 14. “That’s unacceptable. It comes down to discipline. There was a huge lack of discipline, in our defense for sure, but it was probably more an overall team thing.”
USF junior defender Brian Mullins was ejected for a hard tackle 18 seconds after Selolwane’s final goal and will miss the Bulls’ next match, against DePaul on Friday.
Hackworth said it is time for the Bulls – ranked as high as No. 8 a few weeks ago – to refocus.
“I really think my team going (8-0), it kinda went to their head,” he said. “And they lost focus, they lost discipline. As their coach, I was hoping and praying that it wouldn’t go the way it has.
“Basically, I’m going to try to get that discipline and focus back through training, through academics, through everything. They all play a part.”