When Stetson and USF face each other, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two teams. Not because of the players, but because of what they’re wearing.
The two teams share the same color scheme.
Their jerseys are very similar – USF wears white uniforms with green numbers, and Stetson’s uniforms are vice versa.
But at Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Hatters at USF Soccer Stadium, there was no mistake. The record-setting crowd of 2,106 was not confused about which team it wanted to cheer for.
The large crowd was a different sight for the team, which gets just a handful of fans at home games. Then of course, the fact the game was broadcast on national television – a first for the men’s soccer team – helped fill the stadium, but that’s of no consequence to the team.
“It was great seeing the stadium that way,” said sophomore forward Jordan Seabrook, who scored two of the Bulls’ three goals Thursday. “That had to be the best atmosphere I have ever played in since I got to college. I don’t think the fans realize how much they pump us up.”
The Hatters must have been pumped as well, because they outshot the Bulls 10-5 in the first half. But being on national television psyched up USF.
“It was different (with all those people in the stands),” Brenner said. “We were so amped up. We knew this place was going to be packed, and we really wanted to play in front of all these people.”
The Bulls scored first when the team’s leading scorer, Seabrook, got the ball from midfielders Kris Raad and Rodrigo Hidalgo, who picked up their third and second assists of the season, respectively.
Just 7 minutes later, the Hatters tied the game up with a Set Carpintero goal on a 30-yard shot. The Bulls did a poor job clearing the ball, and Carpintero took advantage of the loose ball, one timing it past Brenner.
“Poor clearance for us to give up the ball,” Brenner said. “Seabrook apologized for it, but I don’t know why because I really don’t know who gave (the ball) up. It just got away from us.”
Seabrook added his second goal less than a minute later when Raad sent a cross off the hands of goalkeeper Alessandro Barcherini. Seabrook picked up the rebound and scored.
The Hatters best chance to tie the game came with 11:46 left in the game, when Stetson had a free kick that forward Tanner Wolfe got a head on, but a diving Brenner made the save. Brenner finished the night with seven saves.
The Bulls tacked on an insurance goal with fewer than 5 minutes left in the game when USF had a free kick. Midfielder Jason Devenish tapped the ball to Kevon Neeves, who put away a 30-yard shot.
So the Bulls got the attendance record – and they got the win.
And they got more national recognition than they know what to do with.
“It was great,” coach George Kiefer said. “There’s so many people to thank helping make this atmosphere. People like the cheerleaders and the band and the SunDolls – tonight was their night off, and they didn’t have to be here.”
But Kiefer added that the noise and atmosphere actually overexcited his team.
“I think we were a little uncomfortable with all the noise at first,” Kiefer said. “We got used to it, but it was also a good prep for us because when we go to St. John’s (on Oct. 21). They bring their whole band that blasts the whole game.
“I’m very happy with the way we performed, very happy with the guys and happy with the way it turned out (for TV).”
Brenner agreed, but would have been happy with just the win.
“Always satisfied with a win,” Brenner said. “No matter the performance or on TV.”