Bulls finally get respect

Nine weeks into the soccer season, a player on the second place USF Bulls has received some recognition.

Midfielder Jenny Mulvihill was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for last week’s performance, after she scored two game-winning goals against Memphis on Friday and TCU on Sunday. Some look at the award as an apology from the conference after weeks of ignoring USF.

“Apology not accepted,” Coach Logan Fleck said. “Giving us one player of the week isn’t going to satisfy this team. Getting the (award) going into the last week is absolutely deserved for (Mulvihill). I just think it is a little bit over due.”

Even with Mulvihill getting recognition, Fleck and players still feel they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Fleck said goalkeeper Breck Bankester played outstanding and should have been recognized as well.

“I’m disappointed for her. I’m kind of disappointed in my colleagues that they haven’t (recognized her good play),” Fleck said.

Bankester’s teammates echoed their coach.

“I have a feeling that (C-USA) doesn’t like us,” Midfielder Katie Reed said. “I think that Breck (Bankester) got a little shafted.”

Mulvihill agreed.

“I think Breck should been defensive player of the week,” Mulvihill said. “She definitely was deserving of it.”

Fleck joked that when his players aren’t recognized by C-USA he consoles them by reminding them that he is the best-looking coach in the league, and that fact has been overlooked for years.

Respect, though, is no joking matter, and it would come from the conference and other teams by winning games and winning championships, he said.

The Bulls have been most dangerous offensively as of late, especially on corner kicks. Four of Mulvihill’s six team-leading goals had her outjumping defenders and heading the ball into the net. As a freshman last season, Mulvihill had only one goal and one assist. But this has been a breakout year for her as she has six goals and two assists. Fleck recruited her out of Lake Howell High school, where in addition to soccer she was on the track and weightlifting teams and a member of the National Honor society. Fleck said he liked the fact that she brought more to the team than her soccer abilities.

“I’m at the stage in my career where not only do I want to have good players but I want the kind of people that I would like to coach. I think there are a lot of things in Mulvihill that I identify with,” Fleck said. “She is a gamer and when the lights are on she plays her hardest. She is not afraid to go out there and throw it on the line.”

Mulvihill said she was surprised that she received the award.

“It was quite unexpected,” Mulvihill said. “Everybody keeps underestimating us. We don’t get respect from (Conference USA).”

She also said that looking for headers off of corner kicks has always been her forte. She said she has always been told to go to the net. It has been ingrained in her since she was younger because she has always been one of the tallest players.

Mulvihill’s friend Katie Reed has been a major part of Mulvihill’s success as she takes most of the corner kicks that have found Mulvihill’s head.

“Every time I nail one to her she always gets it in. I think because we’re roommates and close friends it helps out,” Reed said.