The scoreboard said it was a tie, but ask members of the women’s soccer team and they’ll tell you the game was a loss.
Leading 2-1 over Florida Atlantic at the USF Soccer Stadium on Saturday, the Bulls allowed midfielder Natalie D’Oria to tie the game with only 47 seconds remaining. Two scoreless overtime periods resulted in a 2-2 tie.
“We made three mental errors in about 40 seconds,” coach Logan Fleck said. “We had a chance to win the game and keep the ball away from the other team, but we didn’t do it. It’s unfortunate, but we have to learn from our mistakes.”
For the third straight game, USF forward Lindsay Brauer scored the first goal of the game. Defenseman Jenna Ball found Brauer streaking over the middle of the field, but Brauer’s shot went wide. A minute later the two connected again, this time resulting in Brauer’s sixth goal of the season.
“I’m always looking for (Brauer) because she runs perfect routes to set up goals,” Ball said. “We had two chances on the same play. The first one she just missed, but the second time around she was able to control the ball and hit it in.”
With the game tied 1-1 midway through the second period, USF almost scored when midfielder Autumn Browning launched a shot that hit the top crossbar. Then, with about five minutes left in the half, Browning found the net to give the Bulls a 2-1 advantage.
“(Michelle) Buskey is always drawing defenders, and on that play she beat two defenders,” Fleck said. “Her thing now is setting up her teammates, and (Browning) has been on the receiving end of some incredible passes.”
With under a minute remaining, the Owls increased their pressure and forced a turnover, which led to D’Oria’s game tying goal.
“Right after we took a 2-1 lead, I told the team we have to hold them,” goalkeeper Casey Garrett said. “I’m really mad that we weren’t able to hold on. It’s really frustrating having a game like this, but we have to move on now.”
Garrett notched career save No. 100 during the tie. Garrett became the fourth player in Bulls’ history to reach the achievement.
Late in the game, the two teams let their frustration show as physical play increased. On two separate occasions, players from both sides were issued yellow cards after an altercation.
“(Our team) gets the last word, for sure,” Garrett said. “We’re physical; we’re not going to let anyone walk over us. We set the tone and drew some yellow cards. It happens.”Fleck downplayed the physicality of the match.
“It may have appeared more physical, but it wasn’t to us,” he said. “We slug each other all the time getting ready for play in the Big East.”
The Bulls next welcome Miami on Friday.