Coach Logan Fleck knew this weekend would test the USF women’s soccer team. And he was satisfied with the results.After falling 2-0 to No. 7 West Virginia on Friday, the Bulls (6-6-1, 3-4) bounced back and defeated Pittsburgh 2-1.
The Mountaineers (10-1-2, 4-1-1) were led by forward Deanna Everett, as she scored her Big East-leading 13th goal and assisted on the other. Despite the loss, Fleck was impressed with his team’s performance.
“We hung with West Virginia all game; they scored two soft goals on us,” Fleck said. “Our team knows that we can compete with teams ranked in the top 10, and that is something we’re definitely proud of.”
Leading the American Division of the Big East, the Mountaineers have dominated teams offensively all season and averaged a conference-leading 3.41 goals per game.
West Virginia controlled the pace of the game and outshot the Bulls 26-4. Despite the disparity in shots, goalkeeper Casey Garrett kept the Bulls in the game by recording eight saves.
“This team has a great character,” Fleck said. “Our girls have played tough all season. We have a few injuries, players getting into a new position and some players off the bench seeing some action.”
All of those factors were evident Sunday against the Panthers. Down 1-0 with slightly more than five minutes remaining, freshman midfielder Rachel Jakubowski blasted a shot past goalkeeper Allison Finch to tie the game and send it into overtime.
The goal was the first of her career.
USF carried the momentum from Jakubowski’s goal into the extra period. Forward Lindsay Brauer scored her ninth goal of the season to snap the Bulls’ four-game losing streak. Brauer has scored three game-winning goals this season and has recorded 22 points.
For the first time all season, USF was able to come from behind and win.
The victory over Pittsburgh (7-5-2, 2-4-1) was the Bulls’ third conference win of the year. USF won only two conference games last season. “We really needed a win today because from here on out, every game is a tough matchup,” midfielder Michelle Buskey said. “Our team proved that we can hang in games and battle.”