Not only did the men’s soccer team host the USF Holiday Inn Invitational over the weekend. It also played the role of housekeeper as it swept its opponents with two shutouts, one coming Friday night over No. 5 SMU, 3-0.
The Mustangs (4-2), who last week shut out No. 10 St. Louis, were held scoreless by goalie Dane Brenner and the Bulls defense, consisting of Blake Sharpe, Brandon Streicher, Chris Raye and Kareem Smith.
“You really have to give credit to these guys,” said coach George Kiefer. “They defended really well and shut down a really powerful offense, so they have been doing good to keep those guys out of our area.”
In his fourth start of the year, Brenner faced 10 shots and had eight saves as the defense played what can only be described as “stingy soccer.”
“They’re a good team,” Brenner said. “They wouldn’t be ranked No. 5 for nothing. There’s a bunch of guys off the field that have helped us to get these wins, so for us, it’s just a good all-around win.”
On the offensive side of the field, the Bulls scored three goals against SMU goalie T.J. Tomasso, who was Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Hunter West notched his first goal of the season when midfielder Erwin Suarez received a pass from defender Streicher and chipped it towards SMU’s goal box. West spun around Mustangs defender Ross Spencer and drew Tomasso out of the net only to dribble around him and put the ball through an empty net.
“We’re playing really well as a team, with all the new guys,” West said. “We’re a family, and we got family in our locker room, and that means a lot, so it makes us play really well.
“Dane and the guys have been playing the best game. We were able to get them a good lead, and they help us greatly to hold on.”
Freshman Simon Schoendorf also netted his third goal of the season on a give-and-go pass from Rodrigo Hidalgo and Kevin King.
Hidalgo assisted on two goals Friday night. He and Schoendorf started the play that helped score King’s goal late in the first half.
“The whole team had such a good preseason, and everyone knows how good we can be,” Schoendorf said. “We’re just trying to have a good, functional team. We’re all good individuals, but in the end, it’s all about how the team plays together.”
In their second game of the tournament on Sunday, the Bulls faced Alabama A&M (2-4), and once again the veteran defense prevailed.
USF recorded their fourth consecutive shutout win, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1992.
West scored the only goal, shooting the ball on goalie Andrew Jjombwe, who saved it. West picked up his own rebound and scored.
Brenner now has a 0.39 GAA, and has not allowed a goal in over 380 minutes of play, while the defense has played so businesslike that no opposing team has drawn an offside foul all season. Under Kiefer, the Bulls now have a record of 5-0, which is a first.
“It’s great. It’s great to beat teams like DePaul and Charlotte on the road, and then to beat SMU,” Kiefer said. “It’s really great. Makes coaching that much easier. We still need work on finishing our chances, and focusing, even moving the ball better. We still have a lot to work on.”