For the first time this season the men’s soccer team didn’t go home happy. Stetson traveled across the state to hand USF a 2-2 tie and ruin its chances at five straight shutouts.
Every step the No. 17 Bulls took Stetson (3-1-1) matched in stride, but USF out shot them 22-8.
USF (5-0-1) scored first when junior captain Hunter West notched his third goal in three games, taking a 7-yard shot off a give-and-go by freshman Simon Schoendorf.
Late in the first half, the Bulls’ scoreless streak was ended at 418 consecutive minutes when Stetson’s Mauricio Ruiz took an 18-yard shot from Daniel Gay’s pass.
Going into the second half, USF scored its second goal with 8:50 remaining in the game as sophomore defender Kareem Smith put a high through ball to Rodrigo Hidalgo. The pass bounced over Stetson’s goalkeeper, Jeff Smeraglinolo, and rolled into the goal as Hidalgo guided the ball into the net, making in a 70-yard shot.
Less than two minutes later, the Hatters tied the game as Jason Osborne netted a 30-yard free kick. The ball sailed over USF goalkeeper Dane Brenner, nipping the bottom of the crossbar and brushing past his fingers.
Coming into the game, Brenner had a 0.39 GAA, but that was the last thing on his mind. He kept referring to the tie as a loss.
“I put that loss on my shoulders,” Brenner said. “That second goal, you can’t excuse. It’s my fault. I don’t blame any of these guys for tonight. You can say it’s a lot of not finishing and missed opportunities, but I’m just really disappointed in myself right now.”
Coach George Kiefer disagrees with his sophomore goalie, saying the tie against Stetson is on everyone’s back, and there should be a turnaround just over the horizon.
“When you create as many chances as we did,” Kiefer said, “the same guys who missed tonight will score Saturday. That’s the way the game works. We have guys who can finish the ball and they will.
“We have to move on and forget about this one. Stetson comes in and gets themselves a tie, so they did that well. But no, the whole team needs to be accountable, not just Dane.”
Kiefer thought the tie was certainly a downer on the team, but felt his team needs to look past a team like Stetson and worry about upcoming games.
“It was an unfortunate night for the guys. They’re very down right now, like there was a death in the family. I think they are overreacting a little bit, but we tied a soccer game with many created — but unfinished — opportunities.”