The USF men’s soccer team’s second trip to The Tar Heel State this year didn’t end nearly as well as the first.The No. 18 Bulls started the Adidas/Spartan Classic with a 2-1 overtime win against host UNC-Greensboro but got hammered 5-0 by No. 10 North Carolina Sunday.
The Tar Heels scored two goals in the first half and three more in the second to secure their sixth consecutive victory and fourth consecutive at the tournament dating back to last year.
“We were very tentative,” said USF coach John Hackworth. “I don’t know if we were afraid or not, but we were very tentative in the first half and we didn’t play good soccer.”
USF (10-2, 3-1 in Conference USA) recorded 2-1 wins vs. N.C. State and Duke in Durham, N.C., Sept. 7-8, but UNC (10-2) ensured Sunday that the Bulls’ flight back to Tampa would be a less pleasant occasion than their earlier trip home from Duke.
UNC midfielder Ryan Kneipper started the scoring in the 36th minute, with an assist from midfielder Noz Yamauchi. Seven minutes later, Yamauchi scored his second goal of the year, assisted by Matt Crawford.
Trailing 2-0, the Bulls came out after halftime with more resolve, attempting 10 shots in the half. Two minutes into the half, senior forward Jason Cudjoe appeared to have his seventh goal of the year for USF but it was called back because of an infraction.
“We really came out in the second half and actually played quite well,” Hackworth said. “But we were pressing a lot and we got three counterattack goals against us.”
Forward David Testo scored his seventh goal of the year at the 60:29 mark, with Yamauchi recording his seventh assist of the season.
In the 70th minute, Logan Pause made the score 4-0 with another assist by Crawford. Exactly eight minutes later, Jonathan Davis completed the scoring with an unassisted strike.
“We lost a lot of 1-vs-1 battles (Sunday) … that’s really what it came down to, because we played pretty good soccer in the second half, good enough to get back in the game and win it, but we didn’t,” Hackworth said.
Hackworth also said the Bulls played good soccer in their win against the host Spartans Friday.
“We played OK,” Hackworth said. “It was a pretty entertaining match because we were going up and down the field.”
Defender Brian Mullins scored the winner, his second goal of the year, in the 101st minute to give the Bulls their 10th victory of the year. From the right wing, Mullins fired a shot that deflected off a UNCG defender and went in. The loss was the fifth of the season for UNCG (6-5), all by one goal.
Brandon Streicher had given the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute with his second career goal, and the Spartans’ Jeff Lochrie equalized with nine minutes left in regulation.
“UNCG is a good team, so that’s a good win for us,” Hackworth said. “But I’m not really thinking about that right now.”