No. 14 USF women’s soccer defeated SMU 5-1 on Sunday at Corbett Stadium behind a record-setting performance by junior forward Evelyne Viens.
Viens opened the scoring in the fourth minute on an assist from Brianna Blethen. Viens also scored in the 86th minute to complete the game’s scoring. Viens’ goals were her 16th and 17th of the season, which tied and surpassed the program single-season goal record. Viens (2016) and Kristine Edner (1998) previously shared the record.
After the game, Viens kept things in perspective.
“I think it’s just some stats on paper,” Viens said. “I think today, we got the win. A great win, a team win. … We just need to focus on the next game.”
Coach Denise Schilte-Brown praised Viens for bouncing back after being held off the scoresheet against Houston on Thursday.
“She played well [against Houston], to be fair, and I thought she had some tremendous shots,” Schilte-Brown said. “But I think she felt unsatisfied. And that’s a good position for us.”
In addition to Viens’ sixth multi-goal game of the season, Aubrey Megrath scored off an assist from Viens in the ninth minute and Andrea Hauksdottir converted two penalty kicks in the 52nd and 57th minutes.
Blethen was also a standout in the eyes of Schilte-Brown. The junior defender played all 90 minutes, recording two shots on goal in addition to assisting on Viens’ first goal of the game.
“I never like to say there was a best player, because we’re all playing different roles and it takes a team to win,” Schilte-Brown said. “But it was [Blethen’s] best game for sure and I thought she was a standout on the field. I just felt like she had the beat on whatever player they put over there. She just had their number.”
The Bulls left little doubt as to who was going to win the game, with USF outshooting SMU 22-13, with 14 of the USF shots coming in the second half. The Mustangs’ only goal came in the 58th minute off a shot that bounced off the crossbar and found its way past USF goalkeeper Sydney Martinez after a rebound.
“I think that [with] Houston, we had some down energy,” Viens said. “Today we just wanted to finish the game quick. And we knew [that] last year, SMU came back at halftime to almost tie us up at the end of the game. So we just wanted to close this game and … stay on top of the conference.”
Up next is perhaps the most important game of the regular season. USF will host War on I-4 rival UCF at Corbett Stadium on Friday with the AAC regular-season title on the line. At stake: home-field advantage in the AAC tournament and the regular-season championship. USF will claim the title with a win or a draw against UCF.
“I’m proud of UCF and the effort they put in and I think they’re doing a great job,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think it’s really fun to see both of the Florida teams rise to the top and then battle it out for the best. What more can we ask for, really?”