The USF men's soccer team beat Stetson 3-1 on Tuesday night, despite missing three players from its normal starting lineup.
Center back Marcus Murphy, forward Adrian Billhardt and midfielder Josue Monge were out, but coach Bob Butehorn came away impressed with the team’s performance and the ability of the younger players.
“There are a lot of pieces out of the team and for those guys to still get the win and play against pretty good team,” Butehorn said. “Hopefully that pays dividends later in the season.”
Two of the three goals were scored by freshmen — Henrique Gallina and Felipe Bautista.
“I’m excited for both the freshmen,” Butehorn said. “They both scored good goals.”
The opening goal came after 10 minutes. Avionne Flanagan received a long pass from Emilio Ycaza. Flanagan glided past the Stetson defense and kicked the ball past the Stetson keeper.
“I was very excited to get the first team goal,” Flanagan said. “We knew we had to start off fast and we knew if we could get the goal we could keep it on them”.
Flanagan previously played as a defensive wingback. He has only recently transitioned to a more attacking role on the left wing.
“Earlier in my career I’ve played winger and left back,” Flanagan said. “It’s really just me expressing myself more at the winger position, I feel like I can get more at them.”
Stetson drew a foul in the 16th minute, earning a free kick outside the 18-yard box. Hatters midfielder Nathan Monsanto almost scored after a rocket free kick was dropped but quickly recovered by USF keeper Harrison Devenish-Meares.
Stetson scored its only goal near the end of the first half. The Hatters’ Erwan Colas outdribbled the Bulls defense and fired the ball into the net.
Gallina headed home the second goal for USF (3-5-1) after Alex Zis delivered on a corner kick in the 52nd minute.
The Bulls scored their third and final goal of the match as insurance in the 81st minute when Stephen Rudderham made a quick pass outside of the box to Bautista who curled the shot around the Stetson defense and into the back of the net.
Tensions were high as the teams drew a combined 17 fouls.
USF returns to Corbett Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. against conference opponent Tulsa (3-5-1).