Hungry and prepared, the Bulls devoured the “steak sandwich” USF men’s soccer coach George Kiefer called West Virginia earlier this week.
On the road, facing the team with the nation’s longest home winning streak, the odds were against the Bulls.
Amid a raucous Mountaineers’ crowd, the Bulls passed their first Big East test with flying colors by winning in Morgantown to end No. 16 West Virginia’s nation-leading home win streak at 13. The 2-1 victory moved No. 17 USF to 5-2-1 on the season.
West Virginia’s junior midfielder Shadow Sebele got the scoring started when he tipped a low cross into the edge of the goal in the eighth minute to give the home team an early lead, and the Mountaineers looked like they would roll to their 14th straight home win.
USF junior forward Dom Dwyer quickly quelled that notion. After taking a quick pass from freshman Wesley Charpie, Dwyer knocked in his team-leading seventh goal of the season to equalize in the 16th minute.
Despite multiple opportunities, the Bulls’ next best chance came when junior Stiven Salinas was harshly tackled 25 yards from the goal in the 75th minute. Freshman Lucas Baldin stepped up for the free kick and blasted it to the top right corner, just beyond the hands of WVU goalkeeper Justin Holmes.
“When I was coming into work Wednesday, I saw Lucas and a couple of other guys practicing resets and set pieces, so to have the game-winner come on that exact situation was a life lesson for the team,” Kiefer said.
Baldin’s goal was enough, as the Bulls’ defense held, despite a great chance for the Mountaineers on a free kick with 15 seconds remaining.
“This was probably the best team we’ve faced all year. And to come in and go down one, and take the game back, and eventually win … I’m learning a lot about this team,” Kiefer said.