With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the USF women’s soccer team, down 2-1, needed a goal to tie the game Sunday against Rutgers at Corbett Soccer Stadium following a 3-1 win over Memphis on Friday night.
Junior midfielder Sarah Miller attempted a cross pass from the left side near the box to junior forward Demi Stokes, who took the shot, only to be rejected by the crossbar.
Playing in front of her family from Abergavenny, Wales, it was senior forward Sharla Passariello who received the ball as it bounced, kicking it into the back of the net for the equalizer as the Bulls celebrated with a 2-2 draw against the Scarlet Knights.
It was her sixth goal of the season as Sunday marked Senior Day — the last time Passariello would sport a USF jersey at home during the regular season. Having her parents there, she said, just added to the moment.
“I just hit it and hoped it went in,” Passariello said.
“… In front of my parents, it was the last time they were seeing me play, so it meant a lot.”
The Bulls (8-4-4, 3-3-1) hoped to celebrate with a victory but got a tie as the families of five senior players gathered and watched their children walk to midfield to receive plaques with their
Senior backup goalkeeper Hannah Jasurda said the overall experience was “a bit bittersweet.”
“Definitely an exciting day,” she said. “It was one of those days that we’ve been working for our whole soccer career. Coming out with a tie, we’ll take it. It was good to play in front of our families and teammates.”
USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown agreed and said the team will celebrate the seniors’ accomplishments.
“We loved them. We love the seniors. They’re great girls,” Schilte-Brown said. “We try to honor them with our behavior, our performance and our gratitude to them. We really cherish the relationships with all of them.”
Despite the tie, redshirt senior midfielder Catherine Leibbrandt, sporting a handmade lei, said she’s not affected by the results.
“The whole point is to celebrate our career, not one game,” Leibbrandt said. “(The tie) kept us undefeated at home.”
According to Leibbrandt’s father, Don, the lei was made of tea leaves and represents blessings and prayers, as well as a sign of accomplishment.
Though they saw no action in the final home game of the regular season, the other two seniors honored were defenders Marsha Harper and Bianca Norman. Norman was out most of the season due to a torn ACL.
As the families of the seniors cheered, the final regular season home game began with the Scarlet Knights (11-3-2, 4-2-1) scoring the first goal in the 18th minute when forward Stefanie Scholz scored on a breakaway after
receiving a pass over the top of USF’s defense from Madison Tiernan.
USF answered back when Stokes scored inside the box in the 55th minute after receiving a corner kick from Passariello.
The tie didn’t last, as the Scarlet Knights would take the lead when Brianne Reed attempted a flip throw into the box where Tiernan would head it past goalkeeper Christiane Endler to put them 2-1 10 minutes later.
Passariello’s goal at the 82nd minute tied the game at two, which led to overtime where both teams couldn’t find the back of the net in both periods, as three shots were taken between both teams in 20 minutes.
The Bulls will take to the road to cap off their regular season this weekend, taking on SMU on Thursday followed by a Sunday match