Starting off the season 1-3, the men’s soccer team was looking for a huge weekend to get back on track.
The Bulls (3-3, 2-0 Big East) got exactly that by defeating two ranked-Big East teams at home – No. 16 Seton Hall, 3-2, and No. 21 Georgetown, 3-1.
Against Seton Hall (4-1-1, 0-1-1 Big East), the Bulls found themselves down 2-0 with five minutes to play.
But a goal by Kris Raad cut the Pirates’ lead to one, and in the final minute, sophomore forward Rodrigo Hidalgo netted a penalty kick to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Two minutes into overtime, Hidalgo sent a pass towards junior midfielder Sammy Castellanos. Castellanos one-timed the ball past Pirates’ goalkeeper Boris Pardo to give the Bulls the improbable comeback win.
“It was huge that they pulled that game off,” coach George Kiefer said. “I don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t win that game.”
USF carried the momentum from its upset win against Seton Hall over to Sunday against Georgetown.
The Bulls dominated the Hoyas (4-2, 1-1 Big East) offensively, getting off 23 shots including 14 on goal.
“I felt we could have had 10 goals today,” Kiefer said. “Their keeper did a great job.”
The Bulls got most of their offense from Joris Claessens, who scored two goals against the Hoyas.
The goals were the second and third on the season for the freshman defender, who credits his sudden outbreak of offense to becoming more acclimated to the Bulls’ offense.
“This game, I got more forward than I usually do, I guess because I was more comfortable,” Claessens said. “Usually I stay back more.”
With victories over two of the best teams the conference has to offer, the Bulls look poised to get a few more big conference wins.
“I think we got to keep doing what we did this weekend to stay on track,” Kiefer said. “To beat two Top 25 teams in one weekend, that’s huge.”
Coming off a tough road loss to No. 17 Marquette (7-0-1, 1-0 Big East), the women’s soccer team was looking for a win against North Florida (2-2-1) on Sunday.
Both the Bulls and the Ospreys had trouble getting anything done offensively, and the game was a scoreless tie right up to the last minute.
But with 0:36, the Bulls were awarded a free kick when forward Katie Reed was fouled at the top of the box. In a play called the “Siri,” the senior Reed made an adjustment, which confused the Osprey goalkeeper just enough for defender Danielle Malkin to rocket a goal into the right upper 90.
“I had (Danielle) come up to be a distraction, but there was a girl standing there, so I said ‘Danny, you’re taking it,'” Reed said. “I’ve seen her do it so many times in practice; it was perfect.”
The goal was the the first of Malkin’s collegiate career, and it gave the Bulls (5-2, 0-1 Big East) the much-needed victory.