Nearly 1,500 fans braved a lightning delay to watch a defensive match in the Bulls’ season opener at Corbett Stadium. USF fought Michigan hard but was forced to settle with a 0-0 tie in double overtime.
No. 19 USF dominated possession in the first half and the start of the second. The Bulls best opportunity to score came early in the second half when forward Nazeem Bartman got behind the defense and ripped a shot right into the legs of Evan Louro, Michigan’s goalkeeper.
The momentum began to swing minutes later when Bartman was sent off the field with a red card for flopping in the box, forcing the Bulls to play a man down for the remainder of the match. Although they couldn’t steal the win, senior midfielder Michael Bajza was pleased with the outcome.
“Going down a man and playing with 10 men for 55 minutes it’s a good result,” Bajza said. “With the way things happened and the way the game went, we’re pretty proud.”
Even though USF left the field without scoring a goal, the Bulls defense stepped up, thwarting many Michigan would-be goals in the second half. Coach George Kiefer raved about his defense after the game.
“I don’t know if you’ll see better blocking than that in college soccer those last 25 minutes,” Kiefer said. “It was air-tight.”
Along with the defenders in front of the net, sophomore goalkeeper Christian Knight made his first collegiate start and made many key saves toward the end of the second half.
“I was very pleased with how he controlled his box and the saves he made,” Kiefer said.
USF (0-0-1) looks to get its first win of the season when it hosts American University on Monday night at Corbett Stadium.