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USF’s 12th player

There is nothing like breaking a tied game by scoring the game-winning goal. But when the game-winning goal comes from a kick by a member of the other team?

That was the question the USF women’s soccer team asked itself last night after Meagan Surrency, a defender for Jacksonville, miskicked an attempted clearance past her own goalkeeper and into the Dolphins’ goal, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving the Bulls their fifth win of the season.

“I’m sure they are kicking themselves for that one,” goalkeeper Breck Bankester said. “But mistakes will happen, and we’ll take it”

The goal broke a 1-1 tie and gave USF the win they were looking for after they were shut out 3-0 by FSU — although they never envisioned a win like that.

“I’d feel terrible if that happened to me,” Defender Mindy Mulvihill said. “We should have done it ourselves, but we were lucky that the other did it for us.”

Mulvihill scored the only goal to come from the foot of a USF player, charging the net after a shot by Rachel Thjomoe was mishandled by the Dolphins’ goalkeeper. The ball came loose from Amber Otto’s hands in the left side of the six-yard box before a charging Mulvihill nailed it into the left corner of the net.

“The keeper saved (Thjomoe’s shot), but she couldn’t hold on to it,” Mulvihill said. “I took my opportunity when I saw it and just stuck it in the back of the net.”

The Bulls weren’t able to enjoy the lead for long, as less than two minutes later, Ranveig Aas-Hanssen knocked in her 17th goal of the season. As a team, USF has only scored 13 goals all year. The goal came when Inge Heiremans drove a ball from the top of the box that slammed into the crossbar and landed at the feet of Aas-Hanssen, who put it past Bankester to tie the game 1-1.

The teams went into the half tied, and it looked as if USF would make a change in net as backup goalkeeper Tabitha Butler warmed up on the sideline. Coach Logan Fleck changed his mind when Bankester made a crucial stop with only a few minutes remaining in the half.

“Breck (Bankester) came up with a goal-saver; it was big-time,” Fleck said. “When (she) was in there, I thought ‘right now I want to see her finish this out,’ because it was a tight game and we were under pressure.”

Fleck’s judgement proved correct as Bankester made three big saves after Jacksonville handed USF the gift of a goal. One Dolphin shot had her diving for a ball aimed at the right corner of the net; another she batted over the top of the crossbar. The third came when Heiremans dribbled the ball on goal; Bankester dove forward and ripped the ball from her feet.

“I live for (big saves); you know, give me a shot, and I want to save it.”