Big East final in Tampa

The South Florida men’s soccer team has more than payback on its mind this time.

The No. 2-seed Bulls look to avenge their September loss and secure a spot in the Big East title game with a win over Notre Dame (12-5-2) in the semifinals Friday night at 7 at the USF soccer stadium.

USF (12-4-2) had a bye in the first round, got by Georgetown 2-1 in the quarterfinals, and finds itself on the brink of reaching the Big East championship game for the second time in four years.

“We know we’re a good team,” said senior Jordan Seabrook, who scored both goals against Georgetown. “A lot of teams around the Big East conference and teams all over the nation respect us, so winning these games with a lot at stake would uphold our reputation.”

Beating Notre Dame — a team the Bulls lost to 5-0 early in the 2008 campaign — would be a bonus.

“In sports, sometimes you get a second chance,” USF coach George Kiefer said. “That’s the real beauty of athletics. Hopefully we can take advantage of the opportunity.”

Kiefer added that the team is motivated by the chance to get some payback on Notre Dame.

“I don’t think I’ll have to say too much to the team this week,” he said.

Kiefer said the Bulls are ready to return to conference championship games, but will have to get through a very difficult opponent to do so.

“They’re a potent team,” Kiefer said. “They can throw a lot at you. They play fast and have some pretty good players over there.”

Senior forward Bright Dike leads the Fighting Irish with 11 goals and ranks first in the conference with a 0.58 goal per game average.

The Irish topped Louisville 1-0 in the quarterfinals Saturday. The winner of Friday’s match will advance to the league final to face either DePaul or St. John’s on Sunday. DePaul is the No. 3 seed from the Red Division, while St. John’s is the top seed from the Red Division.

USF has a 2-1 record in the all-time series against Notre Dame.