The USF men’s soccer team (3-3-0, 2-0-0 Big East) will face a tough West Virginia squad (4-3-0, 1-1-0 Big East) on the road tonight and is looking to win its third game in a row.The Bulls are trying to steer their season in the right direction after upsetting two Top-25 ranked teams back-to-back.
USF defeated No.16 Seton Hall 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 16, and No.21 Georgetown 3-1 on Sunday. The Mountaineers pose yet another test for the young Bulls, which are trying to establish a place for themselves among the Big East elite.
“You look at Seton Hall, you look at Georgetown, you look at West Virginia. All three teams were in the Big East Final Four last year,” coach George Kiefer said. “And all of them have most of their team back with added talent and recruits.”
But intimidation will not be a factor for USF in the game against WVU.
“We’re going to go after them, we’re going to try to attack, we’re going to try to score goals on the road,” said Kiefer.
The Mountaineers are led by Jarrod Smith, who has a total of three goals and six points on the season; and Dan Stratford, who has scored two goals and recorded six points.
The Bulls will try to dismantle the WVU defense with freshman forward Jordan Seabrook, who has scored five goals and accumulated 13 points so far this season; and sophomore Rodrigo Hidalgo, who has two goals and 10 points.
Coach Kiefer is impressed by his team’s resilience.
“I think the team has dealt with a lot of adversity early in the season and has responded very well,” Kiefer said. “The fact that they kept plugging away, and the wins started to come … I think we’re even stronger for that.”
Since 1973, USF has won its last seven games against the Mountaineers.
Keep an eye on: Freshman defender Joris Claessens. Claessens scored two goals against No. 21 Georgetown including the game winner. Claessens, who was born in Herentals, Belgium, was also named to the Soccer America Team of the Week for the week ending Sept. 18. “(Claessens) was thrown right into the fire from the start, and he’s done a great job,” assistant coach Ryan Anatol said.