After a close battle with No. 1 Maryland that ended in a 1-0 defeat, the Bulls are in high spirits.
USF men’s soccer (0-1) held on until the 70th minute when the Terrapins found the net and broke the deadlock.
Despite the loss, coach Bob Butehorn was impressed with the team’s performance.
“I was obviously pleased but would’ve liked to get a better result, we thought we deserved a little better,” Butehorn said. “But I was pleased with how the guys handled the environment, how the guys responded defensively, to a team that put them under a lot of pressure.”
But now the Bulls are back at Corbett Stadium to play Marquette (1-0-1) on Friday evening in their first home game of the season — and they’re looking for their first win.
“They’re a good team, well-coached,” Butehorn said. “I think that it’s a good matchup and we think it’s a good opportunity and we’re going to approach it like that.”
The Golden Eagles have two overtime games under their belts — a win and a draw. For the Bulls, Friday’s game will be their second. But Butehorn isn’t worried that Marquette has more game experience this season.
“That’s not anything you can do anything about and worry about,” Butehorn said. “It’s one of those things you can’t control.”
Instead, Butehorn is working on making sure his team is prepared.
“Let’s just focus on how we defend well and know our opponent but not worry about them,” Butehorn said.
Marquette boasts a powerful attack, however. Offensive leaders — seniors Luka Prpa, Patrick Seagrist, Connor Alba and sophomore Lukas Sunesson — led the way last season with a combined 18 goals and 14 assists.
Butehorn isn’t shaken by the Golden Eagles’ attacking prowess, however.
“We’re going to face, and we have faced, some very good forwards and will continue to face good forwards,” Butehorn said. “We just prepare ourselves as best we can. We have an idea about the opponent, but we focus on ourselves as much as we can.”
The Bulls are still trying to shake off the preseason sluggishness and find their footing. Given that USF added seven new recruits to its roster prior to the season, players are still trying to jel in with the team and are still learning to work with each other.
“We’re in the infancy stages of, hopefully, a pretty successful season,” Butehorn said. “So I think we’re going to run into our growing pains … I think the important thing for us right now is to focus on winning games and being successful … I think all the other stuff will wash itself away.”