Riding a four-game losing streak, the USF women’s soccer team is looking to end its fortunes tonight.
However, it’ll have to go through No. 15 Marquette to do it.
Marquette was the preseason favorite to capture the Conference USA title, and they’ve played like it. The Golden Eagles have outscored their opponents 19-12, and have racked up and impressive 9-2 record. Their only two setbacks were to Oakland and perennial powerhouse North Carolina.
They are led by senior striker Kate Gordon and goalkeeper Ashleigh Koenig. Through 11 games, Gordon leads the squad with five goals, four assists, 46 shots and 14 points. Koenig has been the spearhead of a stingy defense, as she has already earned six shutouts while only giving up 12 goals for a 1.13 goals allowed average.
The potent Golden Eagles’ offense averages 16.9 shots per game, while holding the advantage on the corner kicks, 53-31.
Even though Marquette is having a great year, coach Logan Fleck looks as a challenge for his team.
“If people make them an eight-goal favorite, their an eight-goal favorite,” Fleck said. “Our prospect about this game is that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
From there, the weekend won’t get any easier for the Bulls.
With a 5-3 record, USF’s matchup against Florida Atlantic will be bound to give the Bulls fits.
The Owls are led by 6-foot senior Trina Maso de Moya and freshman Julie Ferguson. Moya has been their go-to player as she has scored five goals and leads the team with 26 shots. Ferguson has scored two goals while adding five assists for nine points.
USF, however, has Florida Atlantic’s number as they lead the all-time series 5-2.
After putting up a two-game winning streak, the Bulls have fallen on hard times as they haven’t captured a victory in two weeks. But, out of the six losses, three have been by one goal, and the Bulls have out-shot their opponents 88-87 and hold a 39-35 advantage in corner kicks. However, they have shot themselves in the foot too many times, racking up 137 fouls to their opponents’ 97.
“I think that statistic (about fouls committed) can be attributed to playing only two home games in September,” Fleck said. “When you’re away, you won’t get a lot of calls your way.”
Senior Tia Opliger and sophomore Rachel Thjomoe each lead the team with six points, with Opliger scoring three goals and Thjomoe adding two goals and two assists. Sophomore Breck Bankester continues to put up solid numbers, with a 1.93 GAA and two shutouts.
Fleck is anticipating his offense should get jump-started this weekend.
“Our forwards aren’t smacking the balls on goal like they should,” Fleck said. “But, they’re just starting to get a feel for themselves. I’m looking at Aleia Long to have a breakout game.”