With a Big East Tournament spot hanging in the balance, the USF mens soccer teams travel to Queens, N.Y., resulted in a season-altering 2-1 win against No. 15 St. Johns.
Before kickoff, the Bulls (8-4-4, 2-2-3) sat near the bottom of the Big East Red Division at second-to-last, in front of DePaul. A win at St. Johns (9-3-4, 3-3-1) meant a two-position bump, placing the Bulls in fifth place in position to make one of the Big East Tournaments six red divisions spots. It also added a quality win to USFs resume.
Its a very big win for the program and were really in the thick of college soccer, coach George Kiefer said. People dont realize how tough it is to go there and get a win, so I was real pleased with the guys approach. We felt like it was a very important game for us and to be able to score two goals on them early and leave there with three points.
The USF attack took no time capitalizing on that mindset and on every opportunity, as sophomore midfielder Roberto Alterio hit the first goal of the night off a free kick from 20 yards out five minutes into the match. The goal was Alterios fifth of the season.
Taking a 1-0 lead over the Red Storm, USF struck again 21 minutes into play, when sophomore midfielder Wesley Charpie found the back of the net eight yards inside the left post to put the Bulls up 2-0 going into the half. The goal came off a pair of passes from junior midfielder Samuel Hosseini and senior defender Ashani Fairclough.
Kiefer said he was impressed with Faircloughs defensive play.
The back four did an excellent job, and I particularly want to mention Ashani because he was very questionable going into the game and very limited in training the day before, Kiefer said. He oiled himself to play 90 minutes, and I thought that was a big piece to us being successful.
The Red Storm dominated offense throughout the second period of play, taking 15 shots compared to two from the Bulls. St. Johns struggled to find a goal off of any of them, though, against a Bulls defense that did not let up. Sophomore goalkeeper Dallas Jaye added to USFs lockdown defense, totaling five saves by the end of the night, with three in the second half.
St. Johns, in the 61st minute of play, finally hit a goal when senior midfielder Jack Bennett sent in a chip shot past Jaye to put the Red Storm down by one, setting the final score at 2-1.
USF will prepare for its final match of the season and look to solidify its spot in the postseason conference tournament as it travels to Chicago to take on DePaul (3-10-3, 0-6-1), a team that sits at the bottom of the division, Friday at 1 p.m.
I like the fact that we played Saturday and we dont play again until Friday, Kiefer said. Weve been playing every three or four days for a good seven weeks, so to get guys a few days rest and with the win over St. Johns, were looking forward to the week and getting better in training then going to DePaul for another important game.