USF hosts Cincinnati, puts home unbeaten streak on the line

USF has just one loss and has been as high as No. 3 in the country this year. The Bulls are unbeaten in 22 games at home dating back
to 2007 as well.

However, USF’s (6-1-1, 2-1-1) streak and current No. 6 ranking will be tested Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when the Bulls host Cincinnati (6-3-0, 2-2-0) in Big East play.

“Cincinnati is always one of the top teams in the conference,” said USF coach George Kiefer. “We have been working this week on transitions and getting better defensively. If we execute the way we are capable of, I expect this to be a highly competitive game.”

While winning conference matches during the regular season is important for Big East seeding, Kiefer said nothing has changed with how the team prepares.

“To be honest, we don’t put any extra emphasis on Big East opponents,” he said. “We don’t train differently or work harder just because we are facing a conference opponent. The field is still the same size.”

The Bearcats have lost three of their previous five matches after beginning the season 4-0. However, they are coming off a key 1-0 victory on the road over then-No. 21 Notre Dame.

Nine different players have scored for Cincinnati, which has outscored its opponents 17-8. The Bearcats have scored just twice in their last five matches with junior midfielder Mark Konitsch netting both.

USF is outscoring its opponents 10-5 this year. Eight different players have a goal this season for the Bulls, with sophomore midfielder Bernardo Anor’s team-leading three. “(Anor) has been great for us so far this year,” Kiefer said. “He is such a deceptive player who creates his own opportunities to score and can beat you with his feet or his head.”

Junior goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has started every match for USF, totaling three shutouts and not allowing more than one goal in any contest.

“(Attinella) has made a lot of key saves for us this season,” Kiefer said. “He gives the team a lot of energy and never seems to get rattled. Jeff’s calmness carries over to the entire team, which makes him a great captain and leader.”