The USF women’s soccer team missed a golden opportunity, for the fifth consecutive match, to move up in the conference standings Sunday. Against Southern Miss, the Bulls lost to the Golden Eagles 2-1 in the final five minutes.
The heart-breaking loss followed an abysmal performance in New Orleans Friday against Tulane as the Bulls were shut out 5-0.Midfielder Katie Adams took a pass from Pauline Hazan and placed her shot past Bulls freshman goalie Breck Bankester in the 86th minute to break the 1-1 tie and give the Golden Eagles their second conference victory (2-5-0, 8-5 overall).
The Bulls (1-6-1 C-USA, 4-9-2 overall) went with Bankester after junior Valerie Wetzel surrendered five goals in the match against the Green Wave.
The first half ended the way the Bulls would have liked to see the second half end, as freshman sensation Rachel Thjomoe put the Bulls on top 1-0 in the 43rd minute off an assist from fellow freshman midfielder Tara Escribano.
The Bulls’ defense was able to hold off the Golden Eagles until the 73rd minute when Southern Miss forward Tricia Wiles fired an indirect kick which midfielder Leila McReynolds was able to direct past Bankester for the game-tying goal. Wiles was credited with the assist on the play.
Prophetic in his own way, coach Logan Fleck said after a 1-0 victory Sept. 30 vs. Louisville, “In this conference, if you don’t put a team away, then they will put you away.
“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.”
The lesson was definitely driven home Sunday, if it wasn’t already given beforehand.
Friday’s match against Tulane was a whole different subject, as it did not get as ugly as the score would indicate until late.
The first half ended with the Green Wave holding a 1-0 advantage off a goal from Asia Simons, which came via Jallyn Benjamin’s corner kick.
In the second half, the young Bulls (zero seniors) forgot to bring their notes, as the defense surrendered goals in the 49th, 71st, 77th, and 85th minutes to make the final 5-0.
The loss on Sunday was the fifth consecutive loss in conference play and seventh in their last eight matches, dating back to Bankester’s shutout against Lousiville Sept. 28.
The lone victory in the last eight matches was against in-state rival Jacksonville, a 3-1 victory back on Oct. 5.
Next up for the Bulls is another in-state rival, Central Florida, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Orlando.