Bulls win with late goal against South Alabama

“Exciting” is the word USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown uses to describe the women’s soccer team.

But it’s “exciting” with a bit of an unconventionality.

“There are teams that have different personalities,” she said. “Our personality is exciting to watch, very dynamic in the final third, (have) a lot of great attackers and we don’t score a ton of goals.”

It took 74 minutes for the Bulls (5-1-3) to score the only goal of the game in their 1-0 victory over the South Alabama Jaguars (7-2-1) on Friday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium to end non-conference play.

After multiple opportunities to score in the first half, including junior forward Demi Stokes’ shot, which was blocked after she received the ball in the middle of the box, and midfielder Sarah Miller’s shot that missed the corner of the net, forward Sharla Passariello received a pass from freshman Jana Spengler at the top of the box.

With a defender on her, Passariello turned, faced Jaguars goalkeeper Melissa Drish and kicked the ball over her head into the back of the net, scoring her fourth goal of the season.

Spengler and sophomore midfielder Olivia Chance were credited with assists.

Schilte-Brown said she’s OK with the small number of opportunities generated to score.

“Some of the best teams in the world win a lot of games and they don’t score a lot of goals,” she said. “I don’t think that is going to change for us, but they’re competitive and they do score nice goals.”

Throughout the game, USF attempted 16 shots, including eight, which were shots on goal.

Passariello said she felt her team didn’t play well compared to the previous week against South Carolina and Florida because it was “easier, in a sense.”

Schilte-Brown described the game as a “trap” game, a game in which teams play from a weaker conference after playing teams from a tough conference.

“This could be kind of a trap game because you come off two big games, two ranked teams,” Schilte-Brown said. “You come out here and it almost seemed too relaxed. Too easy. It’s a normal phenomenon. I’m proud of the way the girls got the win because it’s easy to not get a win in this circumstance.”

The first five minutes of the game saw South Alabama’s attack penetrating through the Bulls’ defense before USF adjusted to their style.

The Bulls then countered with their attack, reaching the final third, including two shots by Chance that were saved and attempted shot by Stokes that was blocked.

USF continued its strong attack in the second half along with its defense, holding the Jaguars to only six shots for the game, but couldn’t reach the back of the net until the 74th minute.

With the end of non-conference play, the Bulls are back on the road Friday night as they travel to Orlando to start conference play against UCF at 6 p.m.

Schilte-Brown said adding UCF (6-2-1) to the conference could strengthen the rivalry, but the focus is still on them.

“I don’t think it changes the rivalry, if anything maybe it intensifies it a little bit,” Schilte-Brown said. “Our focus has really been on how we play. When we play really well, we can beat anybody.”