USF women’s soccer lost 3-0 to Memphis on Nov. 4, 2018, in the 2018 AAC Tournament final.
Fast forward to Sunday, the No. 21 Tigers (10-1, 2-0) won 2-1 over the No. 16 Bulls (6-3, 1-1) in the second game of the 2019 AAC season at Corbett Stadium on Sunday.
The Tigers pulled off a win that was strikingly similar to the last time the two teams met. The only difference was the Bulls statistically dominated Sunday.
“I never thought there was a point in the game where we didn’t have it, like it wasn’t our game,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “We had the ball 80 percent of the time, I thought we created a lot of opportunities.”
The Bulls outshot Memphis 18-9 and led the Tigers in corners 10-4.
Despite leading in chances created, Schilte-Brown’s main complaint is one she’s had since the beginning of the season — a lack of quality opportunities.
“I’m getting really tired of saying that we have to put our opportunities away,” Schilte-Brown said.
Three USF forwards — senior Evelyne Viens and sophomores Emma Davies and Sydny Nasello — combined for 14 shots, but only seven were on target.
Viens was the only player who converted after she beat the Tigers’ goalkeeper in the 48th minute.
“We need to find a way to score more goals,” Viens said. “It’s my problem, it’s the strikers’ problem, and we need to find a solution because we cannot shoot on goal like that and only get one goal out of it.”
On top of the misfiring forward line, the Bulls’ woes cut deeper as the team was missing freshman defender Lucy Roberts. The Oracle learned Roberts is representing England at the U19 level.
The Bulls allowed two goals from sophomore midfielder Claire Abrey in the 31st and 51st minutes.
Memphis’ style of attack uses high balls and long, high shots. Schilte-Brown decided to start sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Martinez over freshman Kat Haarman because of Martinez’s height.
“The first strike from Memphis was from 30 yards out, and [Martinez] cleanly reached up and grabbed that one,” Schilte-Brown.
As for the two goals she allowed, Schilte-Brown said Martinez was trying to find her footing after being out of the lineup for a month.
“I think her feet were a little tentative, because unfortunately, she hadn’t been the one, she had a concussion for several games and wasn’t an option to play,” Schilte-Brown said. “When you don’t get in that rotation and it’s your first game, your feet are going to be a little suspect.”
Martinez made three saves in her first start since Aug. 29. One of her saves came toward the end of the game when a defensive error by senior defender Bri Blethen allowed Memphis junior forward Clarissa Larisey past the defense, putting her one-on-one with Martinez.
Larisey shot directly at Martinez and a chance at a third goal for the Tigers was thwarted.
“I just stopped at the edge, toes on the very edge of the line … and I’m just there and I’m as big as I can be,” Martinez said. “Luckily, she hit right at me.”
Despite a loss, followed by back-to-back road games against Houston on Thursday and SMU on Sunday, Schilte-Brown is still convinced her team has the ability to win games.
“This is a solid team,” she said. “We’re going to go out every day and play the best we can.
“And that kind of pressure doesn’t help your team get results.”