Bulls finally meet Tar Heels in NCAA tournament
North Carolina turned down several offers from USF to play a regular season soccer match.
But with the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament bracket created, the Tar Heels will have no choice but to face the Bulls (8-3-9) after earning an at-large bid against the American Athletic Conference tournament champions.
“I told the team (the NCAA tournament qualification) is a great accomplishment,” coach George Kiefer said. “Now we have to make a choice. Are you happy with what’s going on or do you want to go to a place like Chapel Hill, who won’t even schedule us and wouldn’t invite us to come there?”
North Carolina (8-5-5) was one of six teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference to earn a seed, their 14th appearance in the tournament in the past
“Sometimes you draw an opponent where, as a coach, you are worried if the team will overlook them,” Kiefer said. “No one is overlooking Chapel Hill.”
The Tar Heel defense is recognized both among the conference and nation with junior defender Boyd Okwuonu as the ACC Defender of the Year. Junior goalkeeper Brendan Moore is ranked in the NCAA with the 11th fewest goals allowed on average.
In the 12th position behind Moore is USF senior goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad, who made the fingertip save on the final PK UConn attempted, which earned the Bulls their first conference championship since 2008.
While the back four has been a key part of USF’s success, the offense began to capitalize on first half shots that turn into equalizers or early leads.
“We kept looking for little things to improve,” Kiefer said. “I think our attack now is very dynamic. It was nice to see a top team like Connecticut do things a little bit differently because they were concerned about us.”
Included in the dynamic attack is senior forward Stiven Salinas, who became the Bulls’ leading scorer after scoring in four of the last six matches played.
Kiefer said he’s taking a team that “is on fire” to play on the cold Chapel Hill night.
“We trained (Monday) and I just chuckled at some of the stuff,” Kiefer said. “It’s really playing well right now. As coaches, we are kind of just leaving it alone. Obviously, we are keeping them sharp, but they are playing well right now and we are looking forward to this game.”
When Kiefer travels with the team to Chapel Hill, USF will have a renewed sense of ambition. No longer will they focus on qualifying for the conference or winning the AAC tournament title, they are making an NCAA championship run starting in a place they weren’t welcomed into, he said.
“They have to let us (in) and give us practice time,” Kiefer said jokingly.
Jeff Negalha, who was a former assistant coach at USF, will be on the opposite side of the field dressed in the signature Tar Heel blue. But Kiefer maintains the match will be played in the spirit of healthy competition.
“There’s no bad blood between the coaches,” Kiefer said. “They play good soccer, so it should be a good game.”
USF and UNC face off at 7 p.m.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- UCLA quarterback committed to turning Bulls around
- Florida poised for big gains in BP settlement
- University Mall to get major overhaul
- Progressive Pope’s climate concerns go beyond faith
- Trump needs to put comments on immigrants to rest
- Shark Week 2015 shows it’s (almost) safe to go back in the water
- ‘Jurassic World’ brings dino excitement back to life
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Prevent Water Damage And Cut Insurance Costs
- How to Sit Through a Movie in Comfort
- Pointers for Packing the Perfect Summer Picnic
- Natural Snacks Make Nutritious Meals
- How American-Made Products Benefit Many
- Los Hispanos Celebran El Verano Con Diversión,...
- Minimizing the Mess: How to Keep a Clean Home With Kids
- Millennials Help Boost the Popularity of ETFs
- How to Handle the Potential Pitfalls of Dating
- Smart Homes Save Time and Money
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- vitaminwater® Announces Project Hustle Finalists
- Supermodel Jaslene Gonzalez to Speak at Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority 25th Anniversary Sisterhood Retreat
- LEMELSON-MIT ANNOUNCES NATIONAL COLLEGIATE STUDENT PRIZE COMPETITION WINNERS
- NEW WEBSITE FEATURES COLLEGE PROFESSORS EXCLUSIVELY AS ONLINE TUTORS
- Dickinson College and Jadu Reinvent Website and Portal with 'Single Experience Student Platform'