USF men’s soccer victorious in another overtime thriller

USF men's soccer defeated Temple 3-2 in the 100th minute at Corbett Stadium on Friday night on an overtime corner kick to extend its unbeaten streak to five matches.

A corner kick from the foot of Alex Zis to Tomasz Skublak sent Bulls fans home cheering in the final minute of the first overtime. The game-winning shot was Skublak’s sixth goal of the season.

The Bulls’ coaching staff focuses on late-game set pieces in practice, and the preparation paid off.

“Joe [Dincecco], our assistant coach, goes through a lot of set pieces and watches the other team, sees how they defend them and he finds the best set piece for us and that one was perfect,” Zis said. “I mean we work on it all the time so it just worked out.”

The Bulls (5-5-2, 2-0-2) scored first in the 41st minute on a Zis free kick from 25 yards out that snuck inside the near post away from Temple’s goalkeeper, Simon Lefebvre.  

Zis’ goal was his fourth of the season and he leads the team with 14 points overall.

“I saw the goalie cheating to the other side and I practice a lot of free kicks so I just tried, and luckily it went in.” Zis said.

The Bulls led 1-0 at halftime, but the Owls (4-6-3, 1-2-1) charged back midway through the second half scoring on a Nick Sarver header from a corner kick from Leandros Lillis in the 70th minute. It was Sarver’s first goal of the season for the Owls.

Just six minutes later, the Owls scored a go-ahead goal off the foot of forward Justin Hahn past the outstretched hand of diving Bulls goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares.

“It was the second time this year we let the ball slip by on a corner kick,” coach Bob Butehorn said. “We have a guy on the post for that reason.”

The Bulls scored again in the 83rd minute. Emilio Ycaza headed the ball into the back of the net to knot the score at two on a ball kept alive in the box by sophomore midfielder Trey Jackson. It was Ycaza first goal of the season.

Butehorn applauded the team effort, but falling behind late is not a habit he wants the team to get used to.

“I don’t like that they put themselves in holes,” Butehorn said. “But they are not afraid to dig themselves out of it. We need to do a better job protecting the lead.”

Regulation ended tied 2-2 and the match looked as if  it was heading to a second overtime. It was the third straight overtime match for the Bulls.

With 44 seconds remaining in the first overtime, Zis let his corner kick fly.

“Look, we have Zis, who gives us some of the best service you’ll ever see and he did today again, It was phenomenal,” Butehorn said. “The kid was striking the ball so nice and it was easy for our guys to get on the end of things.”