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USF drops regular season finale, gets Big East’s No. 3 seed

It was a sloppy way to end the season for the Bulls – literally.

Playing a match in the pouring rain Saturday night at Rutgers, the No. 9 Bulls (12-3-2, 6-3-2) were upset 2-1 in double overtime by the Scarlet Knights (8-9-0, 5-6-0), snapping a five-match winning streak.

Rutgers defender Andrew Cuevas sealed the victory with a goal after just a minute and a half in the second overtime, beating USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who has been steady for the Bulls this season.

“The weather conditions made the match difficult,” said USF coach George Kiefer. “The field was completely soaked, so we couldn’t pass the ball the way we normally do. We had to lift it in the air for it to go anywhere at all.”

After a scoreless first half, it took just 44 seconds for Rutgers to grab the lead. Midfielder Dan Parr took a pass from Ibrahim Kamara and ripped a shot past Attinella.

However, Kiefer said he felt the goal should not have been allowed because an official motioned for an offside call before the goal was scored.

“The referee made an offsides call, so the goal really shouldn’t have counted,” he said. “I don’t know why it was not called back, but I guess it was just a bad break for us.”

More bad breaks would come, including two USF shots that ricocheted off the post. But freshman Hasani Sinclair finally found an equalizer for the Bulls when he connected on an 18-yard blast that beat the keeper on the upper-right hand corner of the net.

The loss, combined with St. John’s win over Syracuse Sunday, earned USF the Big East Red Division’s No. 3 seed.

“This was a really great season for us,” Kiefer said. “I’m proud of our guys for their outstanding record and the way they handled themselves this season. Now we’ll sit back and wait to see who we play in the first round of the Big East tournament.”