With the season on the line, the women’s soccer team couldn’t put the ball in the net to potentially reach its first Big East Tournament.
USF (6-10-1, 3-8) couldn’t take advantage against St. John’s and Syracuse and dropped both games 1-0, enabling Pittsburgh to clinch the fifth and final American Division spot for the Big East Tournament.
Sunday at Syracuse marked the most physical game the Bulls have played all season. There were a combined 37 fouls, and each team was issued a yellow card. The lone goal came during the 74th minute when midfielder Jen Taormina scored her first goal of the season.
“It’s really disappointing because (the team) has fought hard all the way through (the season),” coach Logan Fleck said. “We gave the effort, we outshot Syracuse, did everything but score that one goal.”
USF recorded 14 shots, seven on goal – both were the most since a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh two weeks ago. Syracuse won the game despite only recording two shots on goal.
“I have to give (Syracuse) their due, but I still think we are a better team,” Fleck said. “We should have created better opportunities to score, but that has been our problem the last two weeks.”
It was the second consecutive season USF closed the season losing to Syracuse by one goal. The loss marked the fourth straight game the Bulls fell 1-0. They were shut out nine times during the season.
“It’s really frustrating because we haven’t scored in the last four games. That’s really, really hard to take,” goalkeeper Casey Garrett said. “Our defense has been playing awesome, and it’s hard when the offense can’t return the favor and help us out.”
Syracuse was eliminated from tournament contention Friday when it lost 1-0 in double overtime to Rutgers. Garret feels since Syracuse had nothing to lose, the Orange had the mental advantage heading into the game Sunday.
“They didn’t really have anything to play for, and it was their senior day so they were definitely motivated,” Garrett said. “We knew we had to win – a loss or tie wouldn’t cut it, so the pressure was on us to come out on top. It just didn’t happen.”
Friday the Bulls’ offense struggled against St. John’s, only recording one shot during the first half. USF was outshot 10-4, and the Bulls only registered one shot on goal the entire game.
The Red Storm capitalized off a corner kick when defender Valia Barsley headed in a pass from midfielder Courtney Lane. The goal was the fourth of the year for Barsley.
“No excuses, but it was an Astroturf surface and we were battling against the winds,” Fleck said. “The ball whipped into the box, and it was difficult for any goalkeeper to stop. (Garrett) played really tough for us at the end of this year and had a great game today.”
Along with Garrett, midfielders Michelle Buskey and Erin Dafeldecker, and defenders Jenna Ball and Toni Johnson played their final game for USF. Garrett talked about the feelings of the team after their final game.
“It’s really emotional because today was the last time we are going to play as a team,” Garrett said. “Today could be the last day a lot of us play soccer, and it stinks to go out like that.”