Following arguably the most important match of the season so far for the USF men’s soccer team, all a dejected USF coach George Kiefer could do was give No. 12 Louisville the credit it deserved for beating the No. 3 team in the country.
“(Louisville) was very good tonight,” Kiefer said. “We just have to let (the loss) go and get back on the field this weekend.”
In a match to determine sole possession of first place in the Big East Red Division, the Louisville Cardinals (7-1-2, 4-1-1) defeated USF (7-2-1, 3-2-1) 1-0 Wednesday at the Cardinal Park Soccer Stadium.
Both offenses struggled to find opportunities, as Louisville registered five shots on goal to USF’s one.
Louisville’s first shot came late in the first half, when midfielder Luis Pacheco-Marin’s 25-yard strike was saved by junior goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.
The No. 12 Cardinals did not have another scoring chance until the 84th minute, when midfielder J.T. Murray received a long ball and crossed it to forward Colin Rolfe, who blasted a 15-yard strike past Attinella for the game’s only goal.
“(Rolfe) made a very good shot,” Kiefer said. “You have to give him credit.”
The goal was Rolfe’s fifth this season and tied him with forward Mark Knight for the team lead. The assist was Murray’s first of the year.
Just one minute after Louisville took the advantage, Knight had a chance to retake the team lead in goals, but Attinella denied him the opportunity.
South Florida was unable to register a shot in the final four minutes.
“You learn from every game whether we win or lose,” Kiefer said. “We just can’t get too high or too low and need to have the mentality of taking it one match at a time.”
Louisville outshot the Bulls 11-4 overall and had three corner kicks to USF’s zero.
The Bulls will host St. John’s (2-2-5, 1-1-3) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the USF Soccer Stadium in a rematch of last year’s Big East final.
USF defeated the Red Storm 1-0 in overtime to claim the 2008 Big East Conference Championship.