As Hurricane Isabel plows into the eastern shore of North Carolina, the USF women’s soccer team will begin its conference play.
The team will play in Charlotte against ECU today at 3:30 and against Charlotte on Sunday at 1p.m.
Coach Logan Fleck said he has no reservations about sending the girls so close to the storm.
“I am not scared of anything on this earth except the doctor telling me I have cancer,” Fleck said. “I’ve already gone through a couple hurricanes. The word scared is something that I am very guarded with because there are not too many things that really scare me.”
The threat of the hurricane caused Conference USA to move Friday’s game from ECU’s home turf, Bunting Field in Greenville, to Charlotte’s Transamerica Field. The Bulls (1-3-0) will stay for the rest of the weekend in Charlotte for Sunday’s match against the 49ers.
The change in venue for tonight’s game helps USF by neutralizing ECU’s home field advantage. Fleck said he likes the change in venue because it gives his women experience on the field where the C-USA Tournament will be held.
“I was for it. I was the one who suggested it to be honest with you,” Fleck said. “We can play in Charlotte in rain rather than in a hurricane. That gives us two games on the championship field, so in that way I think it’s a positive.”
Playing on the championship field, however, will help the Bulls only if they make the tournament. As of now, USF sits in next-to-last place with the 49ers (1-5) bringing up the rear.
“All the other games don’t mean a hill of beans until we get to this point,” Fleck said.
The Bulls have a bright spot in goalkeeper Breck Bankester, who goes into the weekend leading C-USA in saves with a total of 37. Bankester, however, is reluctant to take the credit.
“Our whole defense should get the credit for that,” Bankester said. “Between Tiffany (Toale), Stacci (Sastre) and Tara (Escribano), they pretty much contain and don’t give people a good shot.”
Bankester’s strong presence in goal has kept the Bulls in games. Every loss has been by one goal, and Bankester said the offense must play better to win more games.
“We need to put more balls in the back of the net.” Bankester said. “We need to have the offense help us out.”