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AAC championship comes down to Chance

Senior Olivia Chance had multiple chances to score for the Bulls, but was denied on each of her shots. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/AMINA SPAHIC

The Bulls held off the UConn in Huskies regulation, but were unable to find the back of the net, dropping the AAC championship game to the Huskies in penalty kicks 3-2 on Sunday.

The USF women’s soccer team had ample opportunities to score in the first half, with eight shots on goal.

In the 21st minute, sophomore forward Leticia Skeete took the ball in the top left side of the box, but failed to drive the ball off her foot into the net.

Just before the half, senior forward Olivia Chance had another shot on goal from the center of the box, but the ball was deflected just right of the post.

USF was able to keep the conference’s leading scorer, Rachel Hill, from scoring by shadowing her with senior Demi Stokes for most of the first half.

However, in the second half, the tables turned on the Bulls. UConn (13-4-5) outshot USF 11-3 in the second half.

With both teams at a stalemate after 90 minutes, the game headed into overtime.

USF (13-6-2) once again dominated the flow of the game, with six shots in the two overtime periods, but still couldn’t put a point on the board.

Coming into the game, UConn had not allowed a goal in regulation in the AAC tournament and that would hold true.

After neither team could find the golden goal in extra time, the game would be decided on penalty kicks.

After going down three in penalty kicks, the AAC championship came down to Chance.

The senior fired a shot, but UConn’s goalkeeper Emily Armstrong made a diving save to give UConn the win and the conference title. 

“We’ve worked for three weeks on (penalty kicks) and I felt really good going into them,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “It’s not easy, but I can’t take anything away from that UConn keeper. She made some great saves that most keepers don’t get to.”

For the Bulls, it may not have been the end they envisioned, but they now look toward the NCAA tournament to make another championship run.

“Our mind is now toward the NCAA tournament. I think we’re a tournament team,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think we can go far and I’m really proud of them. They just need to keep their heads up. It was strife that got us to this point in the season and I think it’s that type of trial that gets you through the NCAA tournament.” 

USF will find out if it earned a spot in the NCAA tournament tonight during the NCAA Selection Show.