The USF women’s soccer team face two conference teams this weekend that have something the Bulls don’t: a Conference USA Player of the Week.
It is an honor USF has yet to receive, as 20 players have been selected from 10 of C-USA’s 14 teams this season, despite the team’s 4-2-1 conference record.
“It stinks,” Coach Logan Fleck said. “But as I told them, there’s a lot of injustices and unfair things in the world and the only thing that I know that can answer anything is just to go out and win.”
The only other teams without a Player of the Week (Cincinnati, Louisville and Southern Miss) have a combined 4-16-2 record and are currently in 12th, 13th and 14th place in the conference.
Tonight at 7, the Bulls play the Memphis Tigers and junior Yuiko Konno. Sunday at 1 p.m. the Bulls take on first-place TCU, which is led by freshman goalkeeper Katie Buchanon. Konno and Buchanon were recognized as C-USA offensive and defensive players of the week last week.
“You can go for recognition in the preseason or you can go for recognition at the end of the season,” Fleck said. “The most important time to get recognition is at the end. The only time polls count is for TV shows, presidential elections and beauty pageants.”
C-USA also neglected USF before the season began, picking the Bulls to finish 10th in the conference. Right now, USF sits two games behind the Horned Frogs.
“The conference doesn’t believe in us,” Bulls goalkeeper Breck Bankester said.
Bankester, C-USA’s preseason All-Conference goalkeeper, has three shutouts this year and leads the conference in saves. She has been between the pipes for the Bulls every minute this season.
“On our team, you can’t just pick one offensive person or one defensive person that stands out because we have a great defense and we have a great offense,” Bankester said. “You can’t pick just one.”
“Every year they rank us very low, and they don’t do us any justice,” junior defender Stacci Sastre said. “What makes us great is a lot of us just work really well together”
As the weekend approaches, the Bulls will try to shift their focus back toward the games at hand. Fleck said continuing to win games will get USF the recognition it deserves.
“Does it irk me? Of course it does,” Fleck said. “But the only thing I can tell you is that if you win the (Conference USA) championship, you get the most recognition. And that’s what I want to do.”