Bulls, Cards end in tie

USF was unable to hold onto a lead with five minutes left to go Wednesday, as the men’s soccer team battled to a 1-1 tie against Louisville (5-9-2, 4-5-1) at the USF Soccer Stadium. The tie was the fourth of the season for the No. 23 Bulls (8-4-4, 4-2-4), all of those against Big East opponents.

“That’s the game sometimes,” coach George Kiefer said. “I thought we had some chances to win it at the end there. So we walk away with a tie in the Big East.”

The Bulls did have some chances late in regulation. Midfielder Kevon Neaves had blocked shots on goal at the 75th and 77th minute, and midfielder Hunter West nearly scored the game-winning goal twice in double overtime for USF.

“I was actually looking back trying to find Jordan (Seabrook) on that one,” West said of his final shot on goal. “I know I beat that last defender and had no angle to shoot from there, so I was just looking trying to find another white (jersey). Unfortunately, it went straight to the right.”

West was responsible for USF’s lone goal of the night: a narrow shot past Louisville goalkeeper David Simolike with assists from Jason Devenish and Blake Sharpe. The goal, which occurred in the 71st minute of the game, was West’s first goal at home this season and his first since sitting out five weeks with a hamstring injury.

“Obviously, it’s good to be back, especially after the injury,” West said. “The goal -(it) was just a great feeling to score that last goal at home in the last regular-season game. I can’t even describe that feeling.”

USF seniors were commemorated before the game, and the six players, including West, felt elated before the first possession even started.

“It was an excellent feeling,” West said. “I had a lot of family and friends here. For them to come out and support our team, it’s good to have them out here.”

Senior goalkeeper Dane Brenner explained that while the ceremony was nice, the thought process was strictly soccer during the game.

“I felt fine,” Brenner said. “(But) I’m more concerned about getting a bye in the (Big East) Tournament. We have another game (yet to play). I’ll probably think about the (ceremony) later.”

The Bulls have clinched a spot in the Big East Tournament, but are fighting for home-field advantage and a potential bye in the first round of the finals. With a win over DePaul, Red Division leader Cincinnati pushed its point lead to two over USF, and Rutgers took sole possession of the No. 2 spot in the division with a win over Syracuse.

The Bulls stand third in the division, still in position to host a home game in the tournament. Only the top two teams in the division are awarded first-round byes.

“We just have to worry about and take care of ourselves,” Kiefer said. “There are a lot of games left (among teams) and a lot of points out there (to gain). But we can’t just go looking at points and then not focus on (USF’s last regular-season opponent) St. John’s. We just have to focus on St. John’s.”