USF (5-5-2) will play against No. 24 UCF (9-2-2) on Saturday in Orlando to start off its three-game road stretch.
In addition to a lengthy trip of away series, the men’s soccer team hasn’t lost in their last five matches, winning three with two ending in a draw — a stark contrast to the Bulls’ 0-4 start to the season.
According to coach Bob Butehorn, the team’s recent success has been beneficial for more than their record.
“With success comes more confidence. The thing I like about it is that it is not a self-induced confidence,” Butehorn said. “They work and they know they are starting to play to their level. They know they have a long way to go.”
Skublak has also voiced his confidence for the team going into the weekend, as they have been successful in their past five games.
“Right now I feel that we have a good momentum swing going, we have good chemistry and we have become more of a unit throughout the year,” Skublak said. “The swing we have right now is based on momentum, hard work, and determination.
The Bulls have topped the Knights twice since 2014. The last time they lost to the Knights was in 2013, with a score of 1-0. Nonetheless, the coaching staff believes in only looking forward and keeping the past behind them.
“[The matchup record] does not matter in the least bit, they have a new coach with an evolved program,” Butehorn said. “I think they have a complete different culture and complete different energies, and ideas, from the coaching staff. I don’t think the past matters to these guys or us.”
Going into saturday's game, coach Butehorn gives praise to his senior forward Tomasz Skublak for his efforts towards the team on the field. In the last five games, Skublak has shot 16 times and scored six goals.
“The thing about Skublak is a lot of people doubted who he was, he's a converted center back who has taken on the role the last three years learning to be a forward. He’s proven he can do it and I think he has a high feeling that if he works hard he can do it,” Butehorn said. “I think he has already shown me he can step up, it just how far does he want to go. He definitely causes matchup problems with anyone that we play.”
Although players acknowledge that UCF is an opponent they should not underestimate, because of its record and rank. However, the Bulls feel that the game will go in their favor. Specifically, Skublak feels that his team will be prepped and ready for the challenge ahead.
“This year they have had a good year, but I believe with the momentum and confidence we have going into the game won’t change the success that we have had,” Skublak said. “They are a very good team, they have been ranked nationally. They have a good record, but if we train well throughout the week, we can get a good result.”
This will be an important game to the Bulls, as it not only starts off their three game road series, but they are going up against a conference team. They feel that with a win this weekend, positive momentum could stick with them going forward.
“This is a very important game just like any other conference game,” Skublak said. “Getting a win this weekend against UCF will definitely bring a good momentum and attitude for the games coming up.”