Skublak scores first goal of season for USF in Labor Day loss

Tomasz Skublak (11) celebrates with Freddy Gil (13) after scoring the Bulls' first goal of the season in USF's 2-1 loss to No. 20 Creighton. ORACLE PHOTO/SAM NEWLON

USF men’s soccer (0-4) remains winless after its 2-1 loss to No. 20 Creighton (2-1-1) on Monday night.

It did, however, reach an important milestone that has evaded the team all season — the Bulls finally found the back of the net.

Senior forward Tomasz Skublak broke free of the Creighton defense in the 64th minute before putting an unassisted shot over Creighton's keeper to cut Creighton's lead to one goal.

Corbett Stadium erupted. Skublak ran to the sideline and was met by his celebrating teammates.

“It felt good,” Skublak said. “I feel like it was a good way to push the team forward from what we came into the season with and I feel like it’s a good way to start the season off and get the season going.”

Though the Bulls finished strong with Skublak’s late goal, they got off to a rocky start when they let up a goal in the third minute on a penalty kick. The Bluejays responded quickly with another goal in the 18th minute. Skublak’s goal, while exciting for the team, was not enough for a comeback win.

“I thought our first half was pretty poor,” coach Bob Butehorn said. “I think we came out again tentative and looked immature and looked a little inexperienced… So we paid for that and put ourselves a goal down and then turned around and gave another one up, so a tough first half, a tough first 10-15 minutes.”

Skublak led the Bulls with four shots, three of which were on target. On the season, he has taken 10 shots, which is second only to Adrian Billhardt, who has 12.

Skublak also played every minute of Monday’s match against Creighton and has amassed the third-most minutes on the team with 328, trailing only freshman Marcus Murphy and keeper Harrison Devenish-Meares, who have 356 and 360, respectively.

“I think (Skublak) is a very fit individual,” Butehorn said. “I think he’s given us some great minutes and I think he’ll continue to do so.”

Though Skublak has shouldered a heavy workload this season so far, both he and Butehorn agree that he prefers it that way.

“I think if you talked to him, he’d probably tell you he doesn’t want to come off (the pitch),” Butehorn said.

Skublak echoed his coach.

“He’s 100 percent right,” he said. “I don’t like coming off. I don’t think anyone should like coming off.”

The Bulls still haven’t found their first win of the season, but will face Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio on Friday night.

“There’s no room for errors,” Butehorn said. “We get no place to hide and we’re learning. We’re in positions now where we’re having to make really educated decisions and being punished if we don’t…We’re hoping it continues to pay dividends at the end of the year, so right now, It’s hard.”