Senior Simon Schoendorf had two assists and a goal, helping the men’s soccer team achieve a 3-0 victory over Red Division-leading Villanova on Friday night.
Schoendorf now has seven assists and five goals for the season. For the Bulls (8-2-2), the victory is their first since beating West Virginia on Sept. 30.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit in the last few games,” Schoendorf said. “It was nice to get myself back on track and be able to help the team get a win.”
Before a crowd of just over 2,200, the Bulls took advantage of playing on their home field for the first time in four games.
“It was great to come back and have a nice crowd to support behind us,” Schoendorf said. “Coming home to our field was good. On the road, a lot of teams – especially up north – have rougher fields with higher grass and mud all over the place, whereas here, the fields suits us more because we’re a team that moves the ball a lot on the ground.”
The Bulls have now scored 18 of the team’s 25 goals for the season at home.
“We like the angles here,” coach George Kiefer said. “When you go on the road, the surface and everything else is different so it presents a completely different set of challenges, but we’ve been good on the road, too, this year.”
It didn’t take USF long to get the scoring started. The early battles for possession yielded good opportunities for the Bulls. In the 14th minute, Bulls forward Bernardo Anor was fouled, giving USF a free kick. On the impending cross, a header was sent inches over the cross bar and into the stands.
Seven minutes later, Schoendorf got the ball out on the wing and put in a cross that glanced off the head of Bulls forward Jordan Seabrook before being poked in by Anor, giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead.
Within a minute of play restarting, Seabrook made another run. A hard foul just outside the 18-yard box denied Seabrook a shot but gave the Bulls a free kick opportunity. To Seabrook’s relief, Schoendorf stepped up and placed one in the top-right corner, past Wildcat keeper Jason Friel.
“We know this is a physical league and even though it’s not our style of play we showed we can adapt,” Seabrook said. “It felt good to see that free kick go in. We knew the referee wasn’t going to give the red card, and when you feel like you were going to score, it’s a relief to see it go in.”
With a 2-0 lead the Bulls began to settle into the game. In the first half, USF dominated possession, allowing Villanova almost nothing from its counterattacks. Going into the half, the Bulls had scored twice on two shots and were consistently creating chances deep in Villanova’s half of the field.
Just before the half, tempers flared on the sidelines between opposing coaches over the physical style of play Villanova brought to the game. In the end, the Wildcats would finish the game with six yellow cards, four of which were given after fouling the Bulls’ Anor.
“Bernardo was hurting them,” Kiefer said. “Some of their guys were told to (take) care of it and our guys got wind of it. I have to take care of my guys, and I made it clear that I don’t believe in that.”
In the second half the Wildcats began to play more like a 9-3 team, holding the ball and moving it around the field. In all of Villanova’s possession, however, they managed to get only one more shot on goal. The Bulls defense steadily repelled the Wildcat attack and helped goalkeeper Diego Restrepo hold onto his fifth shutout of the season.
“It was great to see ’cause you’re constantly talking to the guys about managing games, sticking within the system and keeping the defense together,” Kiefer said.
Despite going down to ten men after Anor picked up his second yellow card of the match, USF began making counterattacks that were effective in yielding four second-half shots.
With three minutes to go, Schoendorf battled his way through three defenders and hit the streaking freshman Luke Magill out on the wing. From just outside the 18-yard box Magill put a shot in that sneaked underneath Friel’s arm, giving the Bulls a decisive 3-0 victory. The goal was the first of Magill’s USF career.
“Getting a good win against a team like that in the league is always a good thing,” Seabrook said. “Going a man down, I thought we showed a lot of heart to get that last goal.”