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Bulls salvage season with win and tie

The season for the USF women’s soccer team isn’t over just yet.

Despite having to play two matches in 24 hours, one against TCU on a field with four inches of water and the other physical match with Houston, the Bulls gained four crucial conference points this weekend, tying TCU 3-3 and defeating Houston 3-2.

The win and tie lift USF to 6-7-2 for the year and 2-4-2 in conference.

With their second game in 24 hours, the Bulls got off to a slow start. However, after a scoreless first half, the Bulls would bust out with three goals in 18 minutes. The scoring barrage started in the 49th minute when sophomore midfielder Christine Koester pounced on an open look and fired it past Cougars goalkeeper Erin Ferguson for her first goal of the year.

Fifteen minutes later, freshman Rachel Ross made a great header off a cross from sophomore Kim Martins for her third goal of the year.

However, after only 20 seconds, USF had a hand ball in the box, setting up a Houston penalty kick. Sophomore Nikki Hawkins stepped up and got the Cougars on the board with a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Breck Bankester.

Then, three minutes later, senior Aleia Long scored her second goal of the weekend, with a breakaway shot, which she booted past Ferguson who came out for the save.

The TCU game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday. However, due to a torrential rainstorm and heavy lightning, the match was pushed back to an 11 o’clock start time on Saturday.

From the get-go, TCU was off and running. In the 12th minute, sophomore Laura Greenberg received a ball from freshman Brianne Yeary, settled and fired it past Bankester. In the 28th minute, Long provided the equalizer with her second goal of the year, striking a hard left-footed shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and went into the back of the net.

With four points this weekend, the Bulls climbed three spots to No. 9 in Conference USA standings. UAB, which was sitting at the eighth and final spot, won and tied this weekend, moving up to seventh. Louisville and Southern Mississippi, who were ahead of the Bulls, fell behind USF in the standings.

In order to move up, the Bulls need to win both matches against Southern Miss and UAB next week, and cross their fingers. If they do clinch a berth, it would be their first appearance in the postseason since 1999.