The USF men’s soccer team saw its season end Thursday as the Charlotte 49ers beat it 2-1 in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.
After scratching its way back into the regular season, USF could not get things done as Charlotte advanced on the Bulls 2-0 late in the second half. USF came back to within one in the 85th minute, but no one else could score as the Bulls watched their season slip away.
“It’s a tough game to lose because it was a game I thought the guys deserved,” USF coach George Kiefer said.
Things stayed quiet for the majority of the match as neither team scored in the first half. It stayed that way well into the second before Charlotte struck twice in quick succession, posting goals in the 79th and 81st minutes.
“It was tough, but the guys kept working,” Kiefer said. “Even after they were down 2-1, they still had enough scoring chances to tie. For whatever reason, the ball wasn’t going in tonight.”
Charlotte’s Mira Mupier scored the initial goal when he headed the ball past USF goalkeeper Dane Brenner. Mupier’s teammate Michael Rose followed up less than two minutes later, when he scored an unassisted goal from the right side.
USF senior C.D. Harris put the Bulls within one when he put in an 18-yard free kick, but it was not enough as Charlotte held USF off to advance to the second round against regular season co-champions Cincinnati. After the free kick, Kiefer said, the Bulls created numerous scoring chances, including a breakaway that was saved by the 49ers keeper.
“(Harris’s) goal helped,” Kiefer said. “We were a goal away from tying up and we were all over them, but we couldn’t find the back of the net. It was a tough way to lose.”
The Bulls ended a shaky season 7-8-3 overall and 4-4-2 in C-USA. Sophomore Hunter West experienced the same type of roller coaster as he netted seven goals in four matches, but then did not see the back of the net in the last 13 matches of the season.