“Tactics” is the word USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown is preaching to the Bulls, as the USF women’s soccer team heads to Columbia, S.C., tonight against No.18 University of South Carolina (5-0-1).
Coming off their victories against Middle Tennessee State and North Florida this weekend, the Bulls (4-0-2) enter a week where they’ll be playing two Top 25 teams from the Southeastern Conference, the South Carolina Gamecocks and No. 10 University of Florida on Sunday.
Schilte-Brown said her team’s approach against the Gamecocks is to break down their quick attack, which averages 11 shots per game.
“They’re a really strong team,” Schilte-Brown said. “They get numbers behind the ball and defend as a unit. We have to look at how to break that down and when to slow the game down.”
Led by goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo, South Carolina is ranked fifth in the nation in saves percentage, saving 95 percent of the goals against them.
Though the Bulls have been reaching the attack zone, averaging 17 shots per game, the inability to score is what Schilte-Brown wants to change.
“We’re trying to build on what we’ve done,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think that we’ve gotten into the final third more often, which was one of our goals. I think we like to score a little bit more.”
USF looks to continue using its speed of junior midfielder Sarah Miller, known for her speed, and the strong attack of junior forward Demi Stokes, who has the second highest shot record on the team and tied with freshmen midfielders Alexandra Myers and Jordyn Listro with two assists for the season.
The Gamecocks come into tonight’s game with a victorious weekend, defeating Clemson 2-1 on the road Friday and shutting out Southern Methodist 2-0 at home Sunday, where the Bulls, identical to South Carolina, shut out both opponents, defeating both teams 1-0 at home.
Similar to their first two games of the season, the Bulls are playing a game on the road and another one at home this week.
Schilte-Brown said scheduling depended on the team’s availability when it came to South Carolina and Florida.
“It’s the availability of us, the other team and what we think is a fair opportunity for all the teams to be successful,” Schilte-Brown said. “As long as we feel the girls can be successful and manage the situation and their two strong teams, the opportunity presented itself, we thought it was good.”
The match against the Gamecocks is set to start at 7 p.m.
After playing South Carolina, the Bulls will be back at Corbett Soccer Stadium on Sunday against Florida at 6 p.m.