Donning their green and gold uniforms for a 7 p.m. tilt in front of a crowd of 504 people, the Bulls came out of the gates aggressive in their 2-1 win against the East Carolina University Pirates at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
An early goal by the visiting Pirates tested the resiliency of the Bulls, and the first half indicated that the Bulls were up for a dogfight.
With seniors Leticia Skeete, Jordyn Listro and Trudi Carter involved early and often, both teams exchanged possession and shots with frequency in the first half. In the 13th minute, freshman Evelyne Viens flicked the ball behind her back, leaving an ECU defender in a lurch as she subsequently poked a pass to Trudi Carter, whose one-time shot was driven just right of the ECU goal post.
Viens would have the opportunity for a would-be assist in the 15th minute, again poking a ground cross past Skeete and to Carter, whose line-drive shot crossed the face of ECU goalkeeper Caroline Jeffers, who made a save to parry the ball out of bounds.
ECU started the scoring with forward Marianna Shurina driving a shot from far outside the box toward the USF goal. The ball sailed just over the outstretched arm of USF keeper Kat Elliott to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.
The Bulls would not take long to even the score, with Andrea Hauksdottir burying a one-time ground shot in the bottom left corner of the net after a nifty cross from Viens to Skeete set up the scoring chance.
The second half would prove to be a tale of near-misses, with the Pirates coming close to netting a goal after a series of ricochets left the ball spinning in place against the Bulls’ right goal post, only to be cleared for a corner.
At the beginning of overtime, the Pirates held a 17-to-8 advantage in terms of shots on goal, yet the game remained tied at 1-1. The inability to capitalize on the vast shot difference would prove the downfall of the visitors.
With under three minutes remaining in the first overtime period, Grace Adams showed off her footwork by poking the ball between the last remaining ECU defender’s legs, re-gained possession and calmly buried the game-winning goal into the low left corner of the net.
“I’m getting used to how they play here [at USF]…it’s so lovely,” Adams said. “When times get tough, the opponent gets tired, so it’s all about using your technique to beat them.”
Adams’ second goal in two games propelled the Bulls past the Pirates and also marked coach Denise Schilte-Brown’s 100th victory in her 10th season with USF, a feat that was honored with a video montage including words of adoration from players and respectful tributes from various members within USF athletics.
“Chris [Brown] and I have been together since day one, so I have to say how grateful I am to my husband and the opportunity to work together,” Schilte-Brown said. “It’s our win and the program’s win…and the video was very sweet so I really appreciate it.”