Coming off a frustrating offensive performance against UCF last weekend, USF men’s soccer (9-5-1, 3-3) came out strong Friday night in a 4-0 win against Cincinnati (5-10-1, 1-3-1) on Senior Night.
The Bulls scored early and often, netting three of their goals in the first half alone.
The first came in the fifth minute from sophomore Javain Brown, who scored on a volley off a corner kick from senior Johnathan Rosales.
The Bulls doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot. Junior Adrian Billhardt drove the penalty into the bottom left corner after a Cincinnati defender committed a hand-ball violation in the box.
Rosales made it 3-0 right before the half with a hard driven shot into the bottom left corner from outside the box. It ended up a very productive Senior Night for Rosales, who finished with a goal and an assist.
“It’s always good to help the team regardless of what day it is,” Rosales said. “I’m just glad I got something on my last game here, but at the end of the day, it is always about helping the team out.”
The Bulls outshot the Bearcats 11-5 in the first half, a big difference from last week’s game against UCF where the Bulls only recorded three shots in the first 45 minutes.
The difference was mentality, according to Rosales
“Our mentality, you guys could see it the way we came out,” Rosales said. “Our mentality was aggressive, and I think that’s key for us to keep moving forward.”
That aggressive mentality carried into the second half, as the Bulls added a fourth goal courtesy of junior Trey Jackson, who smashed the ball into the back of the net off a cross from fellow junior Freddy Gil.
The Bulls’ defense also shined brightly, led by senior goalkeeper Harrison Devenish-Meares, who recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season.
The defense only allowed seven shots, though none of them were very threatening, as Devenish-Meares only had to make one save.
“It’s just a testament to the defense … they really make my life easy and it is a pleasure to play with them. Full credit to them,” Devenish-Meares said.
Devenish-Meares also attributed the good defensive performance to how well the offense played.
”It’s really nice to just have a little bit of confidence — you get a little bit of air,” Devenish-Meares said. “They got the third, they got the fourth, and we put the game to bed.”
By the end of the match, the Bulls recorded 24 shots and had 60 percent possession, which pleased coach Bob Butehorn.
“It was a nice night,” Butehorn said. “We had two strong halves, got a lot of help from the guys in reserve, so I don’t know what the answer was, but we just felt a little more comfortable.”
Butehorn also praised his four seniors — Emilio Ycaza, Stephen Rudderham, Devenish-Meares and Rosales — for what they have contributed to the program.
“That’s not something I can even explain in just a few words,” Butehorn said. “They really helped to establish things here and right the ship and hopefully they get rewarded with some good wins here in the future.”