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Bulls fall to No. 1 Huskies

In front of a crowd of 4,182 at Joseph J. Morrone stadium, the men’s soccer team fell 2-0 to Big East rival Connecticut.

The Huskies showed why they’re ranked No.1 in the nation, allowing only four shots to a Bulls offense that scored four against first-round opponent Georgetown. It was Connecticut’s eleventh shutout this season, with freshman Josh Ford as goalkeeper each time.

On the other end, the Huskies kept the USF defense busy with 15 shots on goal.

The first half set the tone for the rest of the match as the Huskies dominated the ball. No goals were scored, but the multitude of opportunities for Connecticut, combined with the fact that they allowed the Bulls only one shot on goal, was a sign of trouble on the horizon for USF.

It took the Huskies almost the entire second half to get a goal despite outshooting the Bulls 9-3 in the half.

In the 83rd minute, the Bulls defense could hold the 0-0 deadlock no longer. The nation’s leader in assists, Connecticut midfielder Mike Pezza put a centering pass just outside the 6-yard box that Ryan Cordeiro chipped over Bulls goalkeeper Diego Restrepo to make it 1-0.

The Huskies would seal the match early in the final minute as Akeem Priestly made a run down the center of the USF defense and passed off the ball to Cordeiro on the left side of the box. The senior from Jamaica would make it a two-goal night for himself as he put a shot in the right corner of the net, ending both the match and the Bulls’ Big East championship hopes.

The loss doesn’t help USF’s bid for its twelfth NCAA tournament appearance in school history, but it doesn’t necessarily kill it either. The Bulls went into Saturday’s match ranked No. 22 and lost to a Huskies team considered to be the best in the country right now. A win would have sealed their spot, but for now, the Bulls’ future is uncertain.

The team will have to wait until Nov. 19 to find out whether or not its season is completely over. The NCAA tournament selection takes place that Monday and can be seen live on ESPNNews.

Given the team’s overall record of 12-5-2, the Bulls stand a fairly good chance of getting in. They didn’t lose a non-conference game all season and finished fourth in their division with a conference record of 6-4-1.

There is reason for USF to be optimistic, but there is room for worry as well. Just like NCAA basketball’s equivalent of the tournament, there are no guarantees what the tournament selection committee will do with the Bulls.