Dismal second half hurts Bulls

A preoccupied USF men’s soccer team was handed its seventh loss of the season as the Duke Blue Devils peppered the goal with shots and defeated the Bulls 5-2 Wednesday night.

“I think our guys were looking past Duke and focusing on Sunday’s match. It’s the only thing I can put my finger on,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “The key match is going to be Sunday’s match, so hopefully they can get past this.”

Sunday, the Bulls will take on conference rival DePaul in a match that could possibly decide whether USF makes the Conference USA Tournament. There are two spots open in the tournament, and USF must win Sunday in order to have a shot. Despite the loss, the match against Duke has no bearing on conference play.

“We can’t harp on (the loss),” Kiefer said. “We just have to move forward and start to prepare for Sunday’s match.”

Duke fired on the goal 16 times and out-shot the Bulls 25-10. USF freshman goalkeeper Dane Brenner made a personal-best 10 saves, while the offense was able to score two goals. But an overall sub-par performance led to the Bulls’ loss, Kiefer said.

“You just had a bunch of guys not playing at the level they normally play at,” Kiefer said. “(This) is the first time we’ve went out and just played poorly. We have been beaten, but we handed this one away.”

Duke took advantage of the Bulls, compiling four goals in the first half. Duke Junior Nigi Adogwa led the team in goals with two. His goal in the ninth minute put the Blue Devils up 1-0 and then his goal in the 32nd minute put Duke up comfortably 3-1.

“(Adogwa) is a good player, but he got both of his goals off of giveaways from our guys and that’s what good players do; they finish their chances while other teams make mistakes,” Kiefer said.

USF senior Aaron Paroulek tied the game 1-1 in the 14th minute, but USF would not see the back of the net until four Duke goals later when freshman Keeron Benito scored in the 81st minute.