Men’s soccer tops Villanova on road

All it took was one goal for USF to be victorious over Villanova this weekend. The Bulls (5-2-2, 3-0-2) beat the Wildcats (4-6-1, 0-5-0) in a 1-0 battle at the Villanova Soccer Stadium on Saturday.

USF’s lone goal was scored in the 33rd minute by forward/midfielder Rodrigo Hidalgo. The junior from West Palm Beach took a pass from midfielder Sammy Castellanos to net, his second game-winning goal of the season.

“It was actually one of our set plays,” Hidalgo said. “I believe it was a throw-in. Sammy checked in the ball, laid off to Blake (Sharpe), who laid it back off and found Kris Raad kind of on the outside of the 18-yard box … laid off back to me about 7 yards, and then with a little bit of composure, I kept it in the back post of the goal, and luckily it went in.”

Hidalgo has three goals and six shots on goal.

“I like to have good percentages when it comes to chances,” Hidalgo said. “The No. 1 thought in my head is just to make every opportunity I get around the goal.”

The game was a homecoming for Castellanos, who hails from nearby Philadelphia, making his assist even more satisfying.

“You always get an extra little bit of energy when you’re back in your hometown,” said Castellanos, whose assist was his second of the season.

Though the Bulls had only one goal by the end of the game, USF had chances to score more, as has been the case all season. USF took 15 shots, five of those on goal. Of those five, two came from sophomore Jordan Seabrook.

Coach George Kiefer remains optimistic about his team’s offensive struggles, however.

“Well, we were trying for three goals, but we’re still creating chances,” Kiefer said. “We have good players, and the game is tough.”

Dane Brenner notched his fourth shutout of the season with five saves. Saturday’s shutout marked the 32nd of Brenner’s career at USF. The senior goalkeeper is an integral part of the Bulls’ success this year, as seven of USF’s nine games have been decided by one goal or less.

The team had plenty of rest this week, as its last game was played Sept. 17 at the USF Soccer Stadium. The Bulls’ games are switching from Fridays and Sundays to Wednesdays and Saturdays, making the rest time between each game a little more balanced.

“It’s actually a little relief,” Castellanos said. “Saturday-Wednesday will give us a little bit of a break.”