The USF women?s soccer team headed to Jacksonville for Friday and Sunday?s matchups looking to get into rhythm before a big game this Friday in Miami.
As it turned out, the one who wasn?t supposed to play in the first game against The Citadel came up as the hero in the second game against High Point.
Defender Jamie Anderson?s goal, with four minutes remaining, salvaged a tie for the Bulls, who had to search for new ways to score after they gave High Point a goal less than two minutes earlier to break up the scoreless tie.
High Point?s forward, Carolyn Bader, put the Panthers up 1-0 when she stole a back pass to goalkeeper Breck Bankester.
It was the second goal the Bulls gave up on a back pass for the weekend.
Friday, the Bulls and goalie Valerie Wetzel lost the shutout on a stolen pass from Anderson to Wetzel by The Citadel?s Kelly Pesterfield. Pesterfield took advantage of the opportunity, her team?s only true scoring chance of the game, and knocked the ball past Wetzel to ruin the junior?s shutout.
Fortunately, on Friday the Bulls already had a 7-0 lead thanks to four assists from freshman attacker Rachel Thjomoe and a pair of goals from another freshman, forward Stine Hagh, and senior attacker Jamie Bombinski.
?We came out and pressured them right away, and we beat them down the flank,? assistant coach Leslie Golden said of Friday?s match.
Off the immediate pressure the Bulls had several opportunities before junior midfielder Amy Wallsmith finally scored unassisted in the second minute.
Freshman Candice Lyles followed Wallsmith?s unassisted effort with a goal off an assist from junior Aleia Long during the sixth minute.
In the 22nd minute Long got on the board off a pass from Thjomoe, the first of her four assists on the day, to make the score 3-0.
Thjomoe assisted on the next three goals, the first two coming from Hagh in the 42nd and 48th minutes, and the third being off the foot of Bombinski in the 50th minute. Bombinski?s second goal was assisted by Hagh in the 62nd minute and ended the Bulls? scoring for the evening with a 7-0 lead.
According to Golden, there was no challenge for Wetzel until the freak goal.
?Lyndrea Sutherland dominated the middle by winning everything out of the air and they really couldn?t stop her from controlling the ball,? Golden said.
Sunday?s game was very tight in the first half, with the Panthers holding the slight advantage in ball control, according to USF coach Logan Fleck.
?We were tested in the first half and Breck (Bankester) had to make some plays for us,? Fleck said.
?Fortunately Jamie (Anderson) stepped it up by winning balls for us all game. She is the one who created the late opportunity after they had scored. And she didn?t waste the chance when she drove it past the (High Point) offside trap off of the free kick,? Fleck said of the game-tying goal.
It was in question heading into Friday?s game whether or not Anderson would be able to play due to the severity of her red card stemming from last Sunday?s match with Utah.
The game took an interesting turn after the first overtime, which was evenly matched according to Fleck. Players from both sides were forced to wait 45 minutes for the lightning in the area to calm down.
When play resumed, neither team was able to punch a goal in during the second overtime. Fleck noted Thjomoe created a couple of nice opportunities during the final overtime.
?We are still trying to get consistent play, but I definitely saw signs of improvement over this past weekend,? Fleck said. ?We?ll definitely be ready for our showdown in Miami this Friday.?
Chris Lemke covers women’s soccer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org