Two hours after the USF football team?s improbable win versus Pittsburgh Saturday, USF?s men?s soccer team had a match versus perennial powerhouse and former national champion Duke in Durham, N.C.
Coach John Hackworth said he and the Bulls were ecstatic at the news of the football team?s victory, and he did not intend to give USF fans bad news by losing to the host Blue Devils.
?We all thought that we were going to win our game versus Duke,? Hackworth said. ?So we thought it was going to be a great day for USF athletics.?
Hackworth and his players delivered, beating Duke 2-1 in overtime to win the Duke/Adidas Classic tournament. After falling behind late in the second half, USF found the back of the net twice through forwards Jason Cudjoe, the tournament Most Valuable Player, and Kevin Cowan.
The match was scoreless until the 78th minute, when Duke forward Noah Lewkowitz sent the Blue Devils into the lead. USF was dominating play when Duke?s Trevor Perea broke away on a quick counterattack. Perea drew two defenders his way, then slotted the ball wide to Lewkowitz who placed the ball through defender Joe Valencia?s legs and past goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the first goal of the match.
?You go down 1-0 in front of 1,500 fans at Duke, on the road, towards the end of the game, hard half ? it was tough,? Hackworth said. ?But my guys did a great job right then. It was like nobody hung their heads. It was like, ?OK, let?s go get one.??
Four minutes later, the Bulls, utilizing a tactic of moving the ball from wing to wing, equalized through Cudjoe.
?All night long we had had great position and we were switching the point of attack from right to left,? Hackworth said. ?That?s the way we took advantage of them.?
Defender Brian Mullins sent a cross in from the left flank into the penalty area, setting off a goal-mouth scramble. The Bulls had three clear chances to score before Cudjoe tapped in the equalizer.
The match went into sudden-death overtime, when Cowan scored a goal almost identical to Cudjoe?s in the 93rd minute. Receiving a pass from Mullins on the left, Cowan shot into the net to give the Bulls the victory and tournament championship.
Duke (2-2), which began the season ranked 13th, had been the four-time defending champion of their home tournament.
The Bulls (4-0) placed Cudjoe, Mullins, defender Casey Stump and midfielder Ben Cowherd on the All-Tournament team.
USF began the tournament by defeating N.C. State 2-1 in double overtime Friday.
N.C. State opened the scoring through Lee Baldwin in the third minute, but the Bulls equalized when midfielder Jeff Thwaites scored from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.
The match lasted until the 109th minute, when Cudjoe scored the game-winner off an assist from Brandon Streicher.
Hackworth was full of praise for his squad.
?My team has so much character,? Hackworth said. ?They?re very committed to each other. They?re very disciplined about their roles on the field. They do their jobs, they?re not selfish.
?And when you have that kind of teamwork going on, it?s fantastic.?
Khari Williams covers men’s soccer and can be reached at email@example.com