USF women’s soccer team splits pair

What started out as a great weekend for the USF women’s soccer team turned sour in a hurry.

After snapping their 10-game losing streak with a convincing 4-0 victory vs. visiting Stetson Friday night, the Bulls lost 2-0 to Jacksonville Sunday.

In both games, the Bulls battled hard, but came into the second half with a scoreless tie. However, unlike Friday, the Bulls couldn’t capitalize on numerous opportunities as Jacksonville’s Vanessa Illanes hit the back of the net in the 63rd and 74th minutes. The Bulls dominated possession, outshooting the Dolphins 11-3 and in corner kicks 7-3.

Senior Tia Opliger had led the way with three shots on goal, while sophomore Kim Martins and freshman Berna Breirem each had two.

The loss dropped the Bulls to 1-2-0 for the season.

On Friday night, however, the Bulls returned to the winning ranks as they defeated Stetson 4-0. The Bulls controlled the tempo of the game, out-shooting the Hatters 18-8 and in corner kicks 5-3. The crowd of 270 witnessed the Bulls battle to a scoreless tie, then break out with four second-half goals. Despite missing a penalty kick and several near misses, coach Logan Fleck was still optimistic about the second half.

In the second half, freshman Rachel Ross started the scoring barrage as she scored the first goal of her collegiate career with a diving volley off the foot of Rachel Thjomoe in the 51st minute.

“I was happier that we finally got a goal on the board.” Ross said.

Ten minutes later, junior defender Julie Lechner caught the goalkeeper sleeping as she launched a 35-yard shot over the head of Stetson goalkeeper Jordan Rasmussen. Then in the 71st minute, Opliger ripped a left-footed free kick that curled into the right side past a diving Rasmussen. It was Opliger’s second goal of the year since coming back from a year-long absence.

“Everybody showed up, and I don’t think anyone had a bad game,” Opliger said. “We all played as a group, and everyone contributed as a whole.”

Ross tacked on the last goal in the 85th minute. Ross scooped up a loose ball and beat the goalkeeper for the unassisted goal.

For sophomore Kim Martins, the victory was a long time coming.

“It was so exciting, coming out on our home field under the lights with all our fans,” Martins said. “Winning this game was awesome.”