The USF women?s soccer team made coach Logan Fleck?s prophecies come true Sunday against Charlotte as the Bulls fell 3-0. After Friday?s 1-0 shutout against Louisville, Fleck warned his team about its lack of ability to put away scoring opportunities.
“We created eight scoring opportunities (Friday) and our forwards are just not putting the ball away. You just can?t do that,” Fleck said. “We did create chances tonight, so I?m very happy about that, but by the same token you have got to finish those opportunities.”
Sunday, the Bulls (3-3-2, 1-2-1 in Conference USA) gave a better team effort, according to Fleck. But the 49ers (6-2-1, 4-0) dominated Sunday?s game with a 3-0 win, as the Bulls came up empty on seven shots.
Charlotte, one of USF?s C-USA rivals, controlled the match offensively as well as defensively from beginning to end. The 49ers gave the Bulls a taste of their attack as No. 11 Jeanie Leeder scored their first goal, unassisted in the 20th minute. Shortly after, in the 26th minute, the 49ers scored their second goal by No. 13 Leslie Canales with an assist from No. 23 Mikel Casey.
Charlotte kept the pressure going, not giving USF a chance to get back in the match. The 49ers shot a number of times into the USF goal area and were also aggressive in winning the ball.
Lack of communication within a very young team proved to be fatal for the Bulls, according to Fleck. USF tried the English approach of sending long passes from the defensive section towards the offense in order to create a counterattack, which they failed to do.
In the second half, the Bulls became more aggressive as they made more consecutive passes. However, USF?s mental advantage came to a halt as the 49ers scored their third and final goal of the match. It happened in the 50th minute, as No. 13 Leslie Canales gave a solid pass to forward Jill Hayes, who put the ball away from 35 yards out.
Even though the Bulls lost their second conference match, Fleck said, “I saw more effort put in this game than I saw at Louisville. I saw improvement there.”
Friday against Louisville, Bulls? goalie Breck Bankester came up huge to salvage her first shutout of the season.
During a stretch of two minutes in the second half, Bankester made a couple of brilliant saves to hold on to the 1-0 lead.
On a loose ball in front of the USF goal, a Cardinals? attacker fired a shot low and to the near post, but Bankester made a diving grab on the shot to hold the lead.
Late in the game, Bankester made a near-costly mistake by picking up the ball after a Bulls? player tapped it back to her amid another scramble in the box. This gave the Cardinals an indirect kick from 7 yards out. The Bulls mounted a wall in front of the goal with all 11 players and Bankester knocked the ball out of the box as she charged the kick, preserving the shutout.
The one opportunity the Bulls did cash in on came in the 23rd minute off the foot of sophomore forward Danielle Aldrich, on a rebound from the shot of freshman midfielder Christine Koester, who was credited with the assist.
“In this conference, if you don?t put a team away, then they will put you away,” Fleck said. “That?s pretty much what we are learning right now. If you give a team a chance to hang in there, eventually it is going to come back and bite you.”