USF women’s soccer relying on its defense heading into road trip

USF women's soccer coach Denise Schilte-Brown said her expectations are high for sophomore goalkeeper Kat Elliott. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

Coming off a weekend that saw two shutout wins, the USF women’s soccer team heads back on the road where coach Denise Schilte-Brown said the team’s maturity will be their key to success.

“They’re going to look at the positives of getting on the road and being together and getting the chance to have a good RPI with good road wins and that’s going to help,” Schilte-Brown said.

USF (3-0) travels to Birmingham to take part in the South Alabama Tournament, where it is scheduled to face South Alabama on Friday at
8 p.m. and Troy on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The teams have gotten off to fast starts with both sitting at four wins apiece. South Alabama has been a versatile team in the young season netting 12 goals and only allowing two.

The Bulls have followed suit with 10 goals in their first three games, but their veteran defense is what kept them dominant.

“It’s a really mature, older group,” Schilte-Brown said. “I know that (goalkeeper) Kat (Elliott) is only a sophomore, but the back line is littered with experience — World Cup experience. My expectations are pretty high for that group. I expect them to come out with clean sheets.”

USF boasts six senior defenders on the roster whose dominance has resulted in only one goal allowed, but the Bulls’ entire defensive prowess hasn’t come from their leaders. Elliott has become one of the top goalkeepers in the conference with one goal allowed and seven saves on the young season.

“I have to anticipate,” Elliott said. “I can’t gamble, I have to be patient and as soon as she goes, you just go after it.”

The USF defenders have locked down their side of the pitch, but have also contributed to goals across the midfield line.

“There’s something special in the back,” Schilte-Brown said. “There are a lot of back lines that can defend and keep clean sheets, but (ours) is contributing to the offense.”

Follow Jacob Hoag on Twitter @JacobHoagUSF.