An unlikely source saved the women’s soccer team with little time to spare Thursday. Defender Stacci Sastre, who attempted just one shot last year, scored the game-winner in the 107th minute as USF knocked off Stetson 1-0 in double overtime in DeLand. Minutes from earning a tie with the Hatters, Sastre sent an improbable shot on goal from 30 yards out. The ball ricocheted off the left post and into the goal to give the Bulls (1-1) their first victory of the season.
The Hatters (1-2) were down a player after freshman goalkeeper April Eilering received a red card in the 82nd minute. Backup Jordan Rasmussen played 25 minutes without facing a shot prior to Sastre’s goal.
USF’s young offense, which lost its three leading scorers from a year ago, continued to struggle. Stetson, which was shut out 4-0 vs. the Bulls in Tampa in 2002, outshot USF 14-9. The Bulls did hold the edge in corner kicks, 6-2.
“This game was a big-time benchmark for us,” Stetson coach Julie Orlowski, a former USF assistant, said. “It really helps us to see where we’ve come during the past few years with our program.”
Conference USA preseason first team goalie Breck Bankester continued to live up to her billing. The Bulls junior made nine saves to record her first shutout of the season. In 2002, Bankester blanked four opponents. In Monday’s season opener, a 2-1 loss to UCF, Bankester made 13 saves.
As a sophomore, Bankester faced almost 11 shots a game and stopped 73.7 percent of those shots.
Junior Tara Escribano had two shots on goal and picked up a save in the first overtime with Bankester out of the goal.