USF earns first conference win in double-overtime thriller

USF goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares takes a goal kick during the first half against Tulsa on Sept. 29. Devenish-Meares finished the night with seven saves. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

It took a few extra minutes than the Bulls would have liked, but USF men’s soccer (4-5-1, 1-0-1) knocked off Tulsa 3-2 in double-overtime Saturday night at Corbett Stadium.

The Bulls’ golden goal was scored in the 103rd minute by Tomasz Skublak. Skublak’s game winner was the Hamilton, Ontario, native’s fourth of the season and second of the night.

“It was a good moment,” Skublak said. “I just felt like people had to step up. I just thought me, Josue [Monge], a lot of the center midfielders, all the guys stepped up today.”

The Golden Hurricane took a 1-0 lead into halftime after a shot by Tulsa’s Miguel Velasquez in the 42nd minute got past goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares.

The Bulls did not record a single shot on target during the first 45 minutes. USF’s first half performance left a lot to be desired by coach Bob Butehorn.

“For some reason, we showed some real immaturity as far as tactic, game plan and executing,” Butehorn said. “[Tulsa plays] a very high line and we had space to get it behind and our guys just didn’t execute well. And then we tried to force it and we kind of played into the way they wanted us to play.”

The second half was a completely different result for the Bulls. USF recorded six shots on target in the final 45 minutes of regulation, including two that got past Tulsa goalkeeper Cooper Clark.

Skublak scored his first goal of the night in the 62nd minute and Monge scored in the 69th minute to turn a 1-0 Tulsa lead into a 2-1 USF score in under 10 minutes.

But the game was far from over after Monge’s go-ahead goal.

The Bulls conceded a late goal — 89:14 showed on the clock — to Tulsa’s Joe Ruiz to tie the game late in regulation.

“That’s tough,” Butehorn said. “There’s some teams that will just go in a shell, and I think with my group, all they did was say, ‘No. That’s not going to happen. We’re not going to let this one get away.’ They kept referring to what happened in Connecticut and they didn’t want to let it get away. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and today it did.”

Devenish-Meares was another bright spot for the Bulls. USF’s Austrailian goalkeeper faced nine shots on target, stopping seven of them en route to the Bulls’ first conference win of the season.

The win extends the Bulls’ unbeaten streak to three. Additionally, USF is 4-1-1 in its last six games — a far cry from a team that started the season with four straight losses and zero goals scored through three games.

“I’ve always said they’re a decent bunch of guys and they’re fun to be around,” Butehorn said. “We started off — those were really tough games we played and the majority of them … were on the road. They’ve learned a lot from their lessons of winning and losing. And I think they just like winning more.”

Up next for the Bulls is a trip to Dallas to take on SMU on Oct. 6.

“The nice thing is we have a full week to prepare for SMU,” Butehorn said. “And the guys need it. We need it. I think what we’re going to do is get a better understanding who SMU is. We know kind of what they’re like. We know we’ve got a tough road trip and we’re going to prepare as best we can to go out and try to execute the game plan and see if we get a result.”