As the No. 11 USF men’s soccer team begins the latter part of its schedule, optimism is still high even coming off back-to-back conference losses.
Bulls’ coach George Kiefer is concerned about keeping his team in lively spirits after losing to Cincinnati and UAB.
“This is a talented team, and some of the guys that have made some mistakes in the last games have been very good for us. Teams that do well in October and November shut teams down defensively. We’ve been pretty good at that, but we’ve gotten away from that,” Kiefer said.
Sophomore captain Keeron Benito is refusing to look back on the two losses blemishing the Bulls record (7-2-2, 3-2-1 C-USA). At the same time he relishes being the team-spirit leader. As the younger of the two captains with junior Hunter West, Benito has been essential in helping the players keep their confidence.
“I’ve been telling the guys, ‘Keep your heads up,'” Benito said. “You can’t reminisce on the past and think about what could have happened and the ‘ifs’ and the ‘buts.'”
Saturday, USF faces another conference opponent, Marquette (3-9-1, 0-6-1 C-USA), at USF Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. The Bulls are 7-4-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles. They are working hard after a tough week and for the upcoming game, even though Marquette is the lastplace team in C-USA.
USF has everything set for Saturday’s match-up except for one thing: who the starting goalkeeper will be.
Freddy Hall has started the two previous games, both losses. Dane Brenner had started in every game of the year posting a 0.73 GAA, but began to ride the bench Saturday. Kiefer said he has been adamant that the player with the better practice record will be the starter.
“I want to meet with both of them (Hall and Brenner) and talk to both of them,” Kiefer said. “Freddy has some things to work on, and Dane has had some good rest. I want to meet with them and see their mindset.”
Kiefer’s decision and game-time call has received a little heat due to the end of the unbeaten streak, but his players are standing tall by his side.
“I definitely support Coach,” Benito said. “I know some people may not think it was the right move, but Freddy has been working extremely hard in practice. I think it was good that Freddy got a chance.”