Bulls win season opener against UF with dominant display

Freshman forward Madeleine Penman-Derstine (center) celebrated scoring her first career USF goal against UF in the Bulls season opener at Corbett Stadium on Thursday night. ORACE PHOTO/FRANCISCO ROSA

The USF women’s soccer team opened its season with a statement win over UF Thursday night in front of nearly 2,000 fans at Corbett Stadium.

The Bulls put forth a dominant performance that saw them to a 2-1 victory in their first game of the season.

From the first whistle, coach Denise Schilte-Brown’s side looked as if they’d remain on the front foot throughout the match. The Bulls managed 12 shots in the first half, forcing seven saves from UF goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg.

Goldberg was beaten by senior Chloe Zamiela, however, after a sequence of shots following a corner opened up an opportunity for the forward in the 40th minute. Schilte-Brown said she was completely unsurprised by the fact the senior bagged a goal.

“Chloe has been crushing it,” Schilte-Brown said. “I am not surprised that she scored. She has scored the most, bar none, at practice every day, and [she] has never wavered in our confidence. I expect a lot of goals from Chloe, it’s going to happen.”

In the second half, the Gators equalized against the run of play in the 47th minute, with a goal from Kit Loferski where she lobbed the ball over Sydney Martinez’s head.

Despite the concession just after the second half began, last year’s AAC champions got the victory in the end.

The home side netted the game winner through freshman Madeleine Penman-Derstine in the 50th minute. The Canadian smashed home a volley off the crossbar which was assisted by Sydny Nasello and Paula Leblic.

Penman-Derstine said the victory was a statement to future opposition.

“I think this is a great start to the season,” she said. “We’ve seen a big school like Florida, and now we’ve made it clear that we beat teams at their level, and it’s just a message to the rest of the teams that we’re playing that we’re not here to play around.”

The Bulls finished the match managing 20 shots with 15 being on target, and with a resounding possession rate of 69%.

USF’s next match against the University of North Florida will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.