Mora lifts USF in top-25 showdown

Late in the second half of Sunday’s top-25 showdown between No. 5 South Florida and No. 21 Notre Dame, it appeared the Bulls were on their way to a second consecutive draw.

With less than seven minutes to play, however, USF senior midfielder Jorge Mora changed that.

Mora headed in a goal on a cross from midfielder Bernardo Anor to give USF a 2-1 victory over the Irish (3-3-1, 1-1-0) in front of an announced crowd of 1,255 at the USF Soccer Stadium.

The Bulls (5-0-1, 1-0-1) held on in the final minutes, as goalkeeper Jeff Attinella’s six saves were enough for USF’s first conference win this season. USF tied Marquette (1-4-1, 0-1-1) 1-1 on Friday.

“Getting that goal and beating a top-quality team like Notre Dame is huge,” Mora said. “We were disappointed that we let Friday’s match slip away, but the team bounced back well (on Sunday). The goal was especially big for me because my parents flew down from New York to watch the game, so I was glad I could score for them and get an important win.”

The Bulls took an early lead Friday but let Marquette come back despite outshooting the Golden Eagles 27-18.

“We were the unluckiest team in the world Friday night,” said Bulls coach George Kiefer. “We scored a goal that didn’t count because the referee said the ball didn’t cross the goal line when it clearly did, and we scored a goal that was disallowed because of a foul that shouldn’t have been called. We would win nine out of 10 times against (Marquette) but just couldn’t get it done Friday. At least we came away with a point.”

The Bulls rebounded from their frustrating tie and got off to a quick start Sunday, as freshman Hasani Sinclair scored the first goal of his collegiate career in the fifth minute.

Sinclair ran past the Irish defense and played a 40-yard pass from defender Ashani Fairclough on one hop before heading it past Notre Dame goalie Andrew Quinn.

The two teams went back and forth, with neither side scoring a goal until Notre Dame forward Bright Dike
headed in a cross from Michael Rose to tie the match at 1-1 in the 78th minute.

“We got a lot better after (Notre Dame) tied the match,” Kiefer said. “The best sign in a team is how it handles adversity, and for us to come back and retake the lead in that situation is huge. It was a good weekend for us overall.”