Lack of offense dooms Bulls against Owls

The USF offense failed to show up in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Florida Atlantic. The Bulls recorded zero shots in the first half, eventually being out shot 14-3. It was not until 59th minute that the Bulls managed their first shot on goal.

USF’s meager total of three shots was the lowest number of attempts they’ve had all season. The Bulls average just eight shots per game, a telling statistic that is not going to help the Bulls (1-3-0) get it done as they enter tough conference play next week.

But it was almost a different story. As early as the third minute, USF had the ball in the net, only for Tara Escribano’s strike to be ruled offside.

The disallowed goal came from a quick free-kick prompted by coach Logan Fleck. The trick play caught the Lady Owls off guard.

“That’s one thing about being old and grey,” Fleck said. “I have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

Strong defense kept USF in the game, but one lapse in concentration gave FAU the break they needed to pull out the win. In the 77th minute of play, FAU senior forward Lauren Lucena scored her second goal in two games. USF junior goalkeeper Breck Bankester saved one shot, but the ball bounced off her hands and into a pack of players. Lucena emerged from the pack and rolled in what would be the only goal of the game.

USF may need more offense when they head to East Carolina next Friday. The Pirates (3-2-1) are riding high after a hard-fought loss to the sixth-ranked Florida Gators. Undefeated Florida beat ECU for its fifth win this season, but the close game proved that the Pirates can hang with the best of women’s NCAA soccer. Despite the sub-par offensive display, Fleck has high hopes for his team and expects them to be competitive in conference play.

“Our team will try hard. They are going to give everything they have,” he said.