There is no slowing down Hunter West.
He’s still recovering from surgery and his playing time is restricted by his coaches, but the sophomore forward from Bradenton has scored six of USF’s eight goals this season, including both in the 2-1 win against Furman (0-4) Friday and the only goal in yesterday’s 2-1 loss to Clemson (2-2).
“He’s a big time goal scorer,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “Teams know that and he still does it.”
Clemson went up on the Bulls (2-1-1) early when Andre Borges accepted a cross pass that wound up in the net. Borges struck again in the 67-minute, converting from another cross pass.
“He snuck into the box three times and went man to man,” Kiefer said. “I am curious to watch tape and see who let him go.”
The Bulls halved the deficit from a West goal in the 77th minute but were unable to tie the game.
“It was pretty frustrating,” West said. “We went down early, and it’s difficult to come back when playing a team like that, especially in their home. It was just a little too late for a comeback; we got within one, but it was too late to get the second one.”
The Bulls were also down early in the game Friday against Furman, when Scott Hoch scored the first goal of the game, a header from a Josh Villalobos’ free kick15 minutes into the first half. The Paladins then held the Bulls scoreless for approximately 70 minutes of play.
“We just kept going; we were not getting impatient,” Kiefer said. “We changed our formation a little bit.”
The 85:27 mark was the turnaround for USF when West scored on an assist from freshman Drew Helm to tie the game 1-1. As the game wound down, it looked like USF was heading for their third consecutive overtime period, but West scored on another Helm assist with 38 seconds left in regulation, defeating the Paladins 2-1.
“I was pretty shocked; I didn’t have much of an angle,” West said. “It was really exciting — a feeling I can’t describe.”
Despite the win against a tough opponent and a close game with another ranked program, West was unhappy with the Bulls’ weekend.
“No, I’m not actually happy. This was a big opportunity for us, and I think we just let it go by,” West said. “I’m not happy with the split; the one today could have really helped us down the road.”