USF may have been outshot by Cincinnati on Saturday night at Gettler Stadium, but the Bulls were not outscored or outsaved.
USF (6-4-3, 3-2-3) and the Bearcats (8-3-2, 5-2-1) battled to a 0-0 tie – the third tie in Big East play for the Bulls this year -with help from an eight-save performance by goalkeeper Dane Brenner.
“It was definitely not my best performance,” Brenner said. “I didn’t know I had eight saves. That actually surprised me. The defense did a good job of limiting how many good options (Cincinnati) had, especially since Cincinnati has two really, really good forwards.”
USF coach George Kiefer was impressed with his goalkeeper’s play.
“Dane came up with one really, really good save,” Kiefer said. “That keeps you in the game.”
Brenner knew exactly what goal his coach was talking about.
“(Cincinnati) got through on the left side behind our backs,” Brenner said. “(Forward) Omar Cummings was just drilling at me at an angle. He’s a right-footed player, so coming from the left side I knew he was going to hit it right-footed and that it would be pretty difficult. But he opened his body up, and I knew he was going to hit it. So I dove and made the right decision and came up with the save.”
Brenner’s eight saves in the contest tied his career best. The Bearcats had four shots on goal in both the first and second half but could not get by the senior goalkeeper.
“I’m just trying to take it game by game,” Brenner said. “I have problems when I look ahead and look forward into games and start looking at stats and things like that. Even though I had eight saves tonight and had a shutout, there are still things I should have done better.”
In a game with two signature forwards in USF’s Jordan Seabrook and Cincinnati’s Cummings squaring off together, it was only fitting that Saturday’s game would result in a battle of defensive strategy.
“It was like a chess match,” Kiefer said. “It was a very good college soccer game, evenly played.”
Kiefer would have preferred a win on the road from his club, but he is satisfied with a tie against the top team in the Big East.
“To get a tie on the road at their place I think is a good result for us,” Kiefer said.
Cincinnati came into Saturday’s game winning six straight contests, while the Bulls were coming off a 1-0 overtime victory over FAU on Wednesday. Kiefer explained the importance of every game in pursuit of the Big East crown.
“The key in the Big East is they reward the top two teams on each side, in that the top two teams in the Red Division and the Blue Division get a bye toward the quarterfinal and they get to play the quarterfinal at home,” Kiefer said. “There’s a lot of teams fighting for those top two spots, and we’re still right in the mix for that.”