When USF forward Ogi Perucica was playing high school soccer at Wharton Academy in Tampa, he wanted to continue playing in his hometown.
And he got that chance when he committed to USF in 2006 after being named the top male high school soccer player in Hillsborough County that year.
However, for four long years, Perucica, now a senior, didn’t score in 43 matches.
During USF’s senior night on Saturday, with USF leading 2-1 and 13 minutes remaining, Perucica took a pass from sophomore midfielder Felipe Libreros and blasted a shot that deflected off Villanova’s goalkeeper into the back of the net.
“Scoring my first goal on senior night is huge,” Perucica said. “It was even more special because my parents and a number of my friends from the area came out to support me and the team. I’m very happy that I could share this moment with all of them.”
Perucica and the rest of the No. 3 Bulls, who sit with an opportunity to gain the top seed in the Big East tournament, have two regular season games remaining, including tonight’s match against DePaul (8-7-1, 5-4-0) at 7:30 at the USF Soccer Stadium.
USF (11-2-2, 5-2-2) is in second place in the Big East Red Division and is two points behind Louisville (11-2-2, 6-2-1). South Florida is 23-0-4 in its last 27 home matches dating back to Sept. 21, 2007.
Perucica, who is majoring in business management, said he has been the ultimate beneficiary of the team’s chemistry this year, and credits this team’s success to how closely knit it is.
“We are very united like a family,” he said. “The team chemistry on this team is outstanding and it definitely contributes to our success on the field.”
USF has scored three goals three times in its last four matches and is on a four-match winning streak.
“I see us understanding each other,” said coach George Kiefer. “We’re at a point where we don’t do anything new in training. We’re just sharpening things and focusing on what we do. The guys are responding well to that.”