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Tournament hopes hinge on more than a win for Bulls

The USF men’s soccer team will play its final conference match Sunday at home. The Bulls have a 3-3-2 Conference USA record, and must win against DePaul at the USF Soccer Stadium in order to have a shot at the C-USA Tournament.

“Considering who we are playing, DePaul who has one of the worst facilities in college soccer, I am happy (we are playing at home),” USF coach George Kiefer said.

At eighth place in the 10-team conference, USF has 11 points sitting only one point behind DePaul. If the Bulls beat the Blue Demons, they will be guaranteed at least the seventh spot in the conference standings. Memphis and East Carolina, No. 9 and No. 10 respectively, do not have enough points to challenge the top seven.

USF is only two points behind both Marquette and Saint Louis, which hold the No. 6 and No. 5 spots, respectively, and a win for the Bulls will guarantee them three conference points. With three conference points and either a Charlotte or Marquette loss, the Bulls will surpass the losing team by one point, just enough to guarantee a tournament berth.

“There are three or four different ways to get in (to the tournament),” Kiefer said. “And none of them are in our control.”

In a plot twist made for the movies, both the Billikens and the Golden Eagles will have played before USF takes the field Sunday. No. 5 Charlotte will play at No. 9 Memphis on Saturday night, and No.6 Marquette will play No. 2 Cincinnati Saturday afternoon. Kiefer said he is always honest with his team and will let them know exactly where they stand on Sunday.

“We are going to tell it like it is and go after it,” Kiefer said.

With home field advantage and the knowledge of what they have to do, Kiefer said his team would have a fire underneath them. That fire will not be void of pressure, but Kiefer said he would not mind his team feeling a little squeezed.

“There will be pressure on them,” Kiefer said. “There has been pressure the last three games, and it’s when they have performed the best.”