Forget the 10-game losing streak last year. The women’s soccer team is starting another streak of its own.
A winning one.
The Bulls captured the JU-Brine/Dennis Viollet Memorial Classic title as they defeated Florida International 1-0 Friday night and Elon 3-2 Sunday afternoon.
It’s the first time the Bulls posted back-to-back victories since they defeated Louisville and Jacksonville Oct. 22 and 25, 2000.
USF (3-2) edged Jacksonville in points 7-6 to capture the championship.
“Our defense was starting to solidify,” coach Logan Fleck said. “The kids dug in and played well under pressure.”
The Bulls’ success started on Friday as they defeated FIU 1-0. After a scoreless first half, sophomore Rachel Thjomoe got the Bulls on the board with a goal in the 57th minute.
Thjomoe took a pass from sophomore goalkeeper Breck Bankester, then beat FIU’s goalkeeper Adrienne Williams one-on-one for the goal.
The Bulls outshot the Golden Panthers 5-4 as Bankester recorded her second shutout of the year.
On Sunday, the Bulls got off to a fast start as they scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the first half. Sophomore Kim Martins struck first with a seventh minute goal off an assist from Thjomoe.
Then, in the 10th minute, Thjomoe scored her second goal of the tournament off a cross from junior Christin Chandler.
“We made it clear that starting early is something we’ve been working on,” Fleck said.
However, the Phoenix were no pushovers, as they evened the score with goals by Natalie Sampson and Jessica Mills in the 37th and 51st minute.
With a 2-2 deadlock, the game was headed to overtime when freshman Berna Breirem delivered a beautiful pass to junior Jen Stahl, who found the back of the net for the game-winner in the 88th minute.
Senior goalkeeper Alicia Bostain earned her first win as she recorded four saves in her first start of the year.
“Bankester is our No. 1 goalkeeper, but Bostain had a very good week of practice,” Fleck said. “Bostain also came up with two big saves against Elon.”
With conference play starting Friday, Fleck said his team is just starting to find its niche.
“Our team has a lot of good quickness and tenacity, which should take us far in the conference this year.”
Thomas Carrigan covers USF women’s soccer and can be reached at email@example.com