Before the season started, the South Florida men’s soccer team got together and set a team goal to break the school’s all-time shutout record in a single season.
USF beat the Villanova Wildcats 1-0 Friday, getting its tenth shutout of the season.
“This team is really hitting its stride right now,” coach George Kiefer said. “To break the record and get a win on the road at the same time was very huge for us.”
The Bulls got going early, scoring in the seventh minute of the game when senior defenseman Yohance Marshall sneaked around to the far post and got on the back end of Kevon Neaves’ corner kick, giving the Bulls a lead they would never relinquish.
“I was really excited to see the team convert on its first corner of the game,” Kiefer said.
It was Marshall’s second goal of the year, both game winners. Kiefer said the All-American’s leadership has been a major part of the team’s success.
“Yohance has been great all year,” Kiefer said. “He’s really flourished in the captain role. He calms guys down when they need to be calmed down and lifts guys up when they need to be lifted up. He keeps everybody organized back there. He’s been a key, key guy for us.”
Villanova came out swinging, but couldn’t land a punch. Sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Attinella denied an early scoring bid for the Wildcats and the Bulls held Villanova’s aggressive attack for the rest of the game.
“The team really defended well as a unit,” Marshall said. “We still would like to get better in some areas, but it’s always nice to get a win on the road. It’s something we’ve been accustomed to.”
Not only did the Bulls set a school record with the win, but also assured themselves a fourth consecutive trip to the Big East tournament.
Last year, the Bulls tied the record for shutouts in a season. This year, they carried out their pre-season promise to break it.
“At the beginning of the year, we knew we were going to do it and we did,” Kiefer said. “It’s a very good thing for this team.”
The Bulls moved to 10-3-2 on the year and remain behind first-place St. Johns (6-1-2) in the Big East Red Division. USF can clinch a first-round bye in the tournament with wins against Cincinnati and Rutgers.