As though the women’s soccer team hasn’t faced enough this season.
The Bulls had a difficult time on their road trip this past weekend, and it’s not because they tied Pittsburgh (2-8-3, 1-4-2 Big East) on Friday 2-2 and lost to No. 21 West Virginia 2-0 on Sunday.
On Friday, the Bulls were on their way to Pittsburgh’s Founder’s Field when an accident on the highway forced the team bus to take an alternate route. The detour resulted in the Bulls arriving at 9:05 p.m. – two hours past the originally scheduled game time of 7.
“This team has dealt with some stuff,” coach Logan Fleck said. “It was a two and a half hour ordeal to get to that field.”
The Bulls were given 10 minutes to get ready for the game, but the short pregame warm-up and traffic delay did not slow down the team’s offense.
The Bulls struck first in the 29th minute when midfielder Jessica Zabel stole the ball from a Pittsburgh defender and found the back of the net. Eight minutes later, Erica Lewis scored off a corner kick by Katie Reed, and the Bulls found themselves up 2-0 after the first half.
But the Panthers came out blazing in the second half and scored five minutes in when Aimee Romasco headed a ball off a free kick by Carli Brill. Pittsburgh dominated the second half offensively getting off 13 shots to the Bulls’ six.
With only seven minutes left, Corina Sebesta converted a penalty kick to tie the score at 2-2, which is where it remained until the end of regulation.
When the whistle sounded at the end of the first overtime, the Bulls headed off the field expecting to play more. But the Bulls and Panthers were not allowed to finish the game.
Why? The lights went out.
According to Fleck, the field that the Panthers play on has a contractual agreement with the University of Pittsburgh that the lights have to be off at a certain time because of the field’s suburban location.
“I wasn’t happy with that. I’d like to get another 10 minutes,” Fleck said. “I don’t think I want to play on a field again where we can’t play because they’re turning the lights out.”
Between the accident and the lights, the Bulls were forced to take a tie.
On Sunday, the Bulls’ road trip got even worse when their offensive woes continued as they lost to No. 21 West Virginia. USF only managed two shots against the suffocating Mountaineer defense.
One bright spot for the Bulls’ two games was goalkeeper Casey Garrett.
“I think (Garrett) has given us a very solid effort in goal,” Fleck said. “She’s doing very well. She’s been playing very good against top teams.”
Garrett had a combined 14 saves for the two contests and improved her season goals against average to 1.17.
The Bulls slipped to 5-5-3 on the season and 0-4-3 in the Big East conference and their winless streak was extended to six games. The Pittsburgh fiasco added to the frustration of a Bulls team that has been looking for something positive to build on.
“We would have liked to play the second 10-minute overtime,” Fleck said. “We’re so close to turning a corner. We’re playing good soccer, we have just got to hit the back of the net more.”