As the Bulls led 2-0 early in the second period at USF’s Corbett Soccer Stadium in an exhibition against Tampa, a ball rocketed toward the referee table, which stood out-of-bounds at midfield.
The ball collided with the Rowdies Cup and sent it tumbling to the grass.
Not much reaction was given by the crowd of 1,707, but when USF personnel finally picked up the trophy, it was in two pieces.
Roughly a year ago, redshirt junior Edwin Moalosi experienced a similar fate, when he broke his tibia after two regular season games and was awarded a medical redshirt year.
But much like the Rowdies Cup, which was put back together and held high after the match, Moalosi was back for USF in one elusive, dynamic and impressive piece, as the man of the match.
The shifty forward weaved through Tampa defenders like a man on a mission, scoring both of USF’s goals.
If it weren’t for Tampa goalkeeper David Niepel’s outstretched fingertips ricocheting another shot just a few feet away from the goal, Moalosi would have had three goals.
But Moalosi said he still isn’t as fast as he was prior to the broken leg.
“I’m getting there,” he said, “I have to keep working, but I trust my coaches. They will get me there.”
The Botswana native has already made “amazing progress,” USF coach, George Kiefer said.
“I felt like at the end of spring practice, Moalosi was back to full form,” Kiefer said. “I was very impressed with him. He hasn’t missed a beat.”
But Moalosi said it wasn’t easy to think positively after breaking his leg.
“Last year when I broke my tibia, I thought it was over and I’d never play soccer again,” he said.
Moalosi said his support system was largely responsible for his success.
“They kept pushing me to come back,” he said. “I just want to thank the USF
medical staff and my coaches for getting me back to playing soccer. I have been playing since three years old.”
Moalosi also credited his teammates for the 2-1 victory, and the coaches for teaching the team how to play together with so many new players, including himself.
“It’s not just me, it’s my teammates,” he said. “Especially on the second goal, it was a great effort by my teammates.”
Kiefer said he was pleased with the defensive effort, which allowed only eight shots and one corner kick, compared to 23 shots by USF and nine
“I thought we were really suffocating defensively,” he said. “Our approach for the first 70 minutes was a pretty focused group. We were really
controlling the game. I almost felt for the other team when we lost the ball, how quickly we got the ball back. That was great to see.”
He said he wasn’t disappointed with only two goals on 23 shots, even as Tampa made a push at the USF goal in the final minutes.
“As we go along in the season and I’m comfortable playing guys for longer stretches, I feel like we’ll be able to get the third or fourth goal against a team like that,” he said.
The Bulls now look ahead to Friday’s home contest against Florida Gulf Coast University and the start of the 2013 season.
“I can’t wait for the Gulf Coast game,” Kiefer said. “I wish they were waiting on a bus right now so we could play them right now.”