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C-USA Tournament hinges on final weekend

The USF women’s soccer team had what could be its last practice Wednesday, and coach Logan Fleck could not help but be a bit emotional.

“(Last practices) are never good,” Fleck said. “You’re trying to get things accomplished and you find yourself getting a big lump in your throat.”

Fleck knows that the only way he can buy more time with his players is to make the Conference USA tournament.

To do so, the Bulls (4-8-2, 3-5-0 C-USA) must hurdle Tulane, Memphis and TCU, respectively.

This means USF must win the last two games of the season, Friday at East Carolina and Sunday at home versus Cincinnati.

With two wins this weekend, combined with a TCU tie or loss, USF would move into eighth place and secure a spot in the tournament. The Bulls are two points behind TCU, who plays at Louisville on Saturday, and Memphis, who shares eighth place.

Since the Bulls beat Memphis and Tulane earlier this season, USF would win a tiebreaker over Memphis and Tulane.

“I haven’t thought about too much other than trying to get ready for (East Carolina) and just making sure we get our best effort to win there and then beat Cincinnati,” Fleck said. “And then hopefully we’ll go to the conference playoffs, because that’s the only way I can extend my time with (the seniors).”

Senior Tara Escribano said so far the season has been somewhat disappointing. Winning the final two games, however, could make up for a bad start. Her season depends on it.

“It’s been a long time but they’ve actually gone by pretty fast,” Escribano said.

Sunday’s game is senior night for the Bulls. Escribano, Stacci Sastre, Breck Bankester, Tiffany Toale, Laura Tucker and Christine Koester will be recognized with family members before the game.

USF travels to face East Carolina (7-8-2, 5-3-1 C-USA) today. The Pirates, who have already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, are riding a four-game winning streak.

Sunday, the Bulls welcome Cincinnati (4-12-0, 1-7-0 C-USA) in USF’s regular season finale. The Bearcats have lost three in row and are out of contention for a spot in the tournament.