USF claimed a 3-1 win over Temple on Senior Night at Corbett Stadium on Friday, but ultimately missed out on the AAC tournament after SMU failed to defeat Memphis.
The Bulls were three points behind the Tigers in the conference standings and needed to both win their game over the Owls and hope for a Memphis loss, but the latter wasn’t to be. The Tigers topped SMU 4-1 the same night.
“It’s a hard one to look at,” coach Bob Butehorn said. “Our guys did play the odds and did the right things and what it takes to get in there, but again, we’ve got to give credit to Memphis.”
In his last game in a USF uniform, junior midfielder Henrique Gallina scored a brace to propel the Bulls to a victory and end his collegiate career with a win.
“Even though we got a win and we always celebrate a win, it’s now the end of the season, so it’s a difficult one,” Gallina said. “I don’t think there’s much to celebrate, but I was fortunate to finish my career here at USF with two goals in my last game.”
USF went 4-1-1 down the final stretch in an attempt to make a late charge to qualify for the conference tournament. The Bulls fell short, but Butehorn wants to look at the positives heading into the future.
“I know that [the team is] disappointed but again, I’m going to try to focus on what they’ve done and how they’ve come along in those last six games and really push toward the future,” Butehorn said.
USF opened the scoring early in the first half in the third minute as Gallina scored directly from a corner kick. Temple tied the score on a goal from junior midfielder Andres Charles as he pounced on a loose ball after a few rebounds in the box in the 20th minute.
Just five minutes later, however, the Bulls got back on top with freshman forward Segun Afolabi heading in a cross delivered by freshman forward Jeffrey Copper to put USF up 2-1.
Gallina added his second goal in the 60th minute off a penalty.
The Bulls ended the season fifth in the conference standings, narrowly missing the tournament for the second year in a row. Butehorn said he’s already looking toward the future and is optimistic about his side moving forward.
“We’ll get on the recruiting trail immediately and [we’re] just going to try to get it going and have a good spring,” he said. “I think we’ll be a talented team next year and I’m excited for the future.”