Overtime play is becoming familiar for the South Florida women’s soccer team. The Bulls went to overtime twice this weekend with both Marquette and Florida Atlantic — making six overtimes in eight games this season.
The Bulls had mixed results in the overtime periods, losing 1-0 Friday before bouncing back with a 1-0 win Sunday.
“I think it will pay off for us down the road,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “With such a young team, we are getting great experience playing in these tough extra-time games.”
USF hosted Marquette on Friday night at the USF Soccer Stadium. Both teams played defense aggressively, making it hard for either to find a goal.
“I thought we were composed defensively throughout the game,” Schilte-Brown said. “We communicated well. It was night and day from what we saw last weekend.”
Marquette created the majority of scoring opportunities, but couldn’t get past junior goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi. She had a career-high 11 saves for USF.
However, it was the one shot Lofton-Malachi didn’t save that was vital.
Marquette sophomore Ashley Bares slotted a low shot past the diving Lofton-Malachi in the eighth minute of overtime, giving the Golden Eagles the win.
“You have to give credit to Marquette,” Schilte-Brown said. “They played with a lot of energy and were able to pin our offense in. It was a tough Big East overtime battle.”
The Bulls played tough defense again Sunday as Lofton-Malachi recorded her third shutout of the year in a 1-0 win. Assistant coach Randy Belli said it was nice for the Bulls to be on the good side of an overtime result.
“We battled for so long,” he said. “The girls just kept pushing.”
USF had a couple of chances to find the winning goal in the second half. Junior forward Amanda McKormick hit the post in the 59th minute, and freshman Courtney Flanagan’s long-distance shot was denied by the FAU keeper just minutes before the end of regulation.
“We were getting closer and closer to a goal,” Schilte-Brown said. “I thought we dominated throughout the game, but just couldn’t find that breakthrough.”
The Bulls finally found it with just two minutes remaining in overtime. Freshman Gina Pacheco found space on the right side of the field, delivered a pass into the goal box and freshman Alejandra Santos headed the ball into the net. It was Santos’s first goal of the season.
“I was just running on a high,” Santos said. “It felt great to give our team the win, especially in overtime.”
The Bulls moved to 4-2-2 for the year. Schilte-Brown said the team has grown together by playing in so many overtime games.
“This weekend was a roller coaster,” she said. “Friday we lose in overtime, and then Sunday we win in overtime. It was good to be able to pull out a tough victory. The girls never stopped fighting all weekend.”