USF (12-4-2) at Connecticut (15-2-1)When: Tonight, 7Where: Joseph J. Morrone StadiumTV/Radio: None
The last time USF and Connecticut met on a soccer field, the result was a well-played game from both sides and the only home loss the Bulls suffered all season.
On Saturday, the Bulls travel to Storrs, Conn. to take on the No.1-ranked Huskies in second-round Big East championship action.
The 2-1 loss USF suffered on Sept. 21 was its first of the season. For the majority of that match the Bulls out-hustled the Huskies and dominated possession. In the end, the only two defensive mistakes of the night cost them the game.
“We’re not going to do anything differently this time around,” junior forward Jordan Seabrook said. “Immediately after that game was over, we knew we had done everything right to get a victory and let it slip away. They’re a quality team with quality players, but the way we play is the best way to get a win against anybody.”
The weather in Connecticut could be a factor in the game, as the Northeastern winds are something the Bulls aren’t accustomed to, but coach George Kiefer isn’t worried about it.
“The crowd at Connecticut will keep you warm,” Kiefer said. “There will be 5,000 people there bringing a lot of body heat, so the atmosphere should be good, and it’ll be fun.”
One thing that won’t have an adverse effect on USF is the pitch at Connecticut. The Bulls have already seen it once this year when they played two matches at Joseph J. Morrone stadium during the UConn/adidas Classic in early September.
The Bulls are 2-0 there, having defeated Florida International and then-No.15 South Carolina, scoring a total of three goals in the two matches.
Connecticut has one of the best home-field advantages, with a stadium seating capacity of just over 8,500 people and one of the biggest fan bases in all of college soccer.
If the Bulls can beat the Huskies it will be the first time in USF history they will have done so. It will also go a long way toward getting them into the NCAA tournament, and would be their second trip to a Big East semifinal in three years.