In what began as a friendly, but competitive match between the USF women’s soccer team and the University of Massachusetts, quickly escalated to a physical battle that saw the Bulls leave with a 3-0 victory at Corbett Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“Our goal going into the game was to win our first four games…and based on our schedule we thought that we could do that,” said USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown.
However, it was not only the tightly-contested first half that debunked thoughts of an easy victory, but the excessively physical style of play that made for great athletic theater.
The USF defense, led by seniors Jordyn Listro and Carlotta Fennefoss, was intent on keeping its opponents far from the goal, or even the penalty box and they were highly successful.
“(They) have been a backbone for us,” Schilte-Brown said of the duo. “They’re our bloodline back there.”
As the first half ticked to its end, the momentum had clearly shifted and the game remained tied.
Within the final eight minutes of the first half, three balls bounced off of the UMass goal posts, missing the net by mere inches.
In the second half, the goals would finally come. And with it would come an increase in physicality on the part of both teams and the number of yellow cards issued.
It was senior Trudi Carter’s successful penalty kick — the result of a tripping penalty — that opened the scoring in the 54th minute.
Then again in the 60th, freshman Evelyne Viens received a pass from fellow forward Leticia Skeete, took one touch to her right, and buried a dagger of a shot into the upper right side of the goal.
Maintaining their recent penchant for netting three goals per game, Viens converted a penalty kick into a goal less than two minutes later.
As the goal differential increased, so did the level of physicality, taking on a reciprocal effect between the teams.
Ultimately, however, Schilte-Brown was proud of her team, maintaining that they stuck to a mantra she has instilled in them specifically for physical games like this.
“We have an acronym…it’s composure under pressure,” she said. “You can’t control the other team, you can’t control the referees…so we remind the girls to do that…not come undone.”