Home match against No. 22 UConn ends in draw

The Bulls went head-to-head in what was mostly a stalemate among defenses against No. 22 UConn (3-2-2, 0-0-1) to open conference play.

A crowd of 1,862 gathered at Corbett Soccer Stadium on Friday in a
1-1 draw ending in double overtime.

USF (2-1-4, 0-0-1) coach George Kiefer said he wasn’t upset with the result against the team he once coached.

“What I am liking to see is that we are getting better each game,” Kiefer said. “UConn is one of the better teams in the country.”

The Huskies got off to a quick start in the third minute of play when midfielder George Fochive, who had two shots the entire night, kicked in the goal assisted by midfielders Cyle Larin and Edir DaGraca.

USF junior forward Kennedy Selorm Adablah sent in the equalizer in the 21st minute after the ball rebounded off UConn’s keeper. It was the junior’s third goal of the season, leading the team.

“Coach kept telling me ‘Keep running to the ball. Even if you lose it, just follow it up,’ and that was just exactly what I did,” Selorm Adablah said. “I got the chance and I took it.”

From there the crowd got to witness a chess match between the teams in the purely defensive second period.

The Huskies had an average of 14 shots heading into the match compared to USF’s 10. Neither team fulfilled that average as UConn finished with 11 shots to the Bulls’ five.

The aggressive defense of both teams led to four yellow cards being drawn, each team receiving two. The first being to Bulls’ leading scorer, Selorm Adablah, while senior midfielder Samuel Hosseini received USF’s second.

UConn’s Jakob Nerwinski and Larin received the other two cards towards the end of regulation. The cards were accompanied by a couple handball calls, the first on the Huskies.

With less than a minute to go in the match an opportunity appeared for the Huskies.

In an attempt to end the match in regulation, a shot was sent from just outside the box on a grounder toward USF senior goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad, who collected another save. He had three total in the match.

Between the two overtime periods, UConn stepped up their attack, taking five shots in the 20 minutes. They took six throughout regulation. USF stayed defensive, taking one in the second period of overtime.

The match makes for USF’s fourth draw on the season and Kiefer didn’t seem alarmed by the stalemates.

“There are some college teams that look to get ties, sit back and defend, whereas we’re not playing for (ties),” Kiefer said. “I think we’re getting guys forward and had the majority of the ball. I think we’re getting better and the tie against UConn is a good result.”

The Bulls play at home Tuesday, taking on California State Bakersfield at 7:30 p.m.

Senior midfielder Lucas Baldin, who was out with an injury Friday night, is expected to play next week, giving the team more
confidence moving forward Kiefer said.

“Now we have to prepare for a very good Bakersfield team and on a positive note, we get Lucas Baldin back, which gives us another experienced guy,” Kiefer said. “I’m pleased with where we’re at right now.”