The USF women’s soccer team gained a split this weekend to finish off its stretch of five matches in nine days, winning two of the five matches.
Sunday’s match at Florida Atlantic (a make-up from Sept. 16) was dreadful for the Bulls (4-5-2) as they fell 4-1.
“The team came out flat and we just didn’t get into it until the game was already over,” said USF coach Logan Fleck.
The Owls (6-4-1) started the scoring barrage just nine minutes into play, getting a goal from sophomore forward Lauren Lucena off a cross from the right flank from freshman midfielder Kari Kaiser. The goal was Lucena’s second of the season and Kaiser’s assist was also her second of the year.
The Owls did not let up in the first half, as they went on to punch in two more goals before the break. Freshman forward Autumn Baur struck in the 25th minute from the top of the box with her third goal of the season. Then, seven minutes later, freshman defender Janine Aylward headed the free kick from sophomore sweeper Danielle Castro past Bulls goalie Valerie Wetzel to make the score 3-0.
But the Owls weren’t finished.
In the 67th minute Lucena broke free at the top of the 18-yard box to notch her second goal of the match, this one sliding by Bulls goalie Breck Bankester, who relieved Wetzel at halftime.”Too little, too late,” was the clichÃ© Fleck used to describe sophomore forward Stine Hagh’s fifth goal of the season, as she scored in the 71st minute to finish the score at 4-1.”We really only played well for 35-40 minutes,” said Fleck. “That’s not going to cut it when most of our games are scheduled for 90 minutes.”
Fortunately for Fleck, the Bulls were able to string together more than 40 minutes of solid play Friday when they defeated Jacksonville 3-1.
The Dolphins struck first when freshman forward Michaelene Cadiz slid an open-net goal past Bulls goalie Alicia Bostain.Hagh entered the match in the 30th minute, and she did not waste any time making her presence felt.
The Bulls’ leading scorer immediately broke through the Dolphins’ defense, had her first shot blocked, then took the rebound and knocked the ball off the left post and into the net for her fourth goal on the season.
Finally, the Bulls were able to break the tie when a quick strike downfield gained a corner kick opportunity.
Junior forward Aleia Long was able to nail home the match-winner, making the score 2-1 in the 69th minute.Sophomore Jen Stahl put the match away three minutes later, when she lofted a shot from the top of the box over Dolphins goalie Sara Scalese to finish the scoring at 3-1.
“I was really happy with our performance tonight,” said Fleck. “Most coaches would expect a lull in play following such an emotional game (Tuesday vs. FSU).”
The Bulls are still awaiting word on the suspension of junior midfielder Erin Sharpe, who was given a red card during the FSU match. She sat out both weekend matches.
“We still have a lot of baby steps to take, we definitely need to learn how to put a team away defensively, but I liked what I saw from the kids (Friday),” Fleck said.