Trailing 1-0 to Villanova at halftime this weekend, the seniors on the USF men’s soccer team ripped into the rest of the squad for not playing as hard as they should.
The Bulls got the message.
No. 13 USF drastically turned the match around, scoring three goals in the second half to secure a 3-1 victory at the USF Soccer Stadium on Saturday, a night when the team honored its seven seniors.
“The coaches didn’t even have to say anything (during halftime),” said USF coach George Kiefer. “The seniors really stepped up and voiced their displeasure with the way the guys played in the first half. To score those three second-half goals and get the win was really huge.”
Villanova (8-6-2, 4-4-1) got out early when forward Mike Seamon scored in the seventh minute. It was the first goal the Bulls (11-2-2, 5-2-2), who couldn’t find much of a response in the first 45 minutes, allowed in the opening half all season.
When USF’s seniors sent the message that the team was being out-hustled, Kiefer said, things changed.
But the Bulls got a huge break from the Wildcats when Seamon was given a red card for fighting in the 60th minute.
“I think our approach to the second half led to them getting a guy thrown out,” Kiefer said. “We beat them at their own game, which was to fight. Then we started moving the ball around better and got three quick goals.”
USF’s first came in the 64th minute when freshman Kevin Olali assisted forward Hasani Sinclair, who beat goalie Chris Bresnahan with a shot to the lower left corner.
In the 71st, sophomore Sebastian Thuriere headed his third goal of the season in off a corner kick to break the deadlock. Six minutes later, senior Ogi Perucica scored his first goal of the season.
“It was huge for me,” said Perucica of scoring on senior day. “Being able to score for my parents and friends who came out to support me is very special.”
USF seniors Zak Boggs, Jorge Mora, Ogi Perucica, Francisco Aristeguieta, Alessandro Bianchi and Armante Marshall were honored before the match in a ceremony.