After a tough loss to South Carolina to start the USF Tournament last Thursday, the plan for the USF mens soccer team was to bounce back against the Iona Gaels (1-3). The team did just that, coming back to score two second-half goals once again and picking up its fourth win of the year, 2-1.
Iona senior forward Ansger Otto knocked in the first goal of the game coming from a deep assist downfield from junior midfielder Franklin Castellanos. With the Bulls down 1-0 early on, the plan to bounce back from Thursday didnt seem to be going accordingly. The match became a possession battle as both teams went back and forth for the ball, ending the first half 1-0.
The Bulls found themselves on the losing end as they stepped onto the field for the second half of play, but five minutes into the half, junior midfielder Leston Paul tied things up 1-1 as he got his first goal of the season. The goal came from passes by sophomore midfielder Wesley Charpie and senior midfielder Sebastien
Thuriere, splitting the assist.
I knew coming in that I have a team that will fight it out and make sure we get a win, Paul said. Everyone played with each other and everyone had heart.
Riding on the momentum of the first goal, Paul came into play yet again, connecting a deep lead pass to Thuriere, who scored the second goal for USF six minutes after Paul scored his. With the Bulls coming out of the locker room on fire, coach George Kiefer was satisfied with the teams attitude.
I was really pleased in the second half and how we responded, Kiefer said. I think they came back out and said, Were going to win this game. I think a lot of teams would have gotten down on themselves.
While plenty of time was left on the clock as the Bulls led the game 2-1, fouls were called left and right 13 in the second period on USF alone igniting
reactions across the field. Three players from each team were given yellow cards, and with Iona still trailing in the 80th minute, an Iona assistant coach was shown the red card and ejected from the game. USF was on the wrong side of a large amount of fouls, as they were called for 23 fouls to seven on the Gaels.
The Bulls found themselves on the winning side of yet another second-half victory. USF looks to keep momentum swinging in its direction when the Bulls (4-1-0) head to Akron, Ohio, to take on Butler (1-0-2) on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
I think its important that we let the team get their rest, Kiefer said. We play Butler in a week. To look that far ahead would be foolish theres a lot to learn here. We just got to keep doing the same thing.