USF shuts out first opponent of the season

USF celebrates its first win of the season after placing a last minute goal. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

After a four-game losing streak, USF men’s soccer not only scored its first goal of the season, but won its first match on Friday against Mercer in a 2-0 shutout.

Throughout the match, the Bulls (1-3-1) dominated the Bears (2-1-2) in shots, corner kicks and fouls, showing improvement from their 3-0 loss against Washington on Sept. 6.

In the first half, USF took possession of the ball 65% of the half while generating five shots.

One of those shots came from junior midfielder Ajmeer Spengler, who at the 13th minute sent the ball to the back of the net to put the Bulls at a 1-0 lead.

Along with Spengler’s goal came a sigh of relief to the program, who had been unable to score a goal yet this season.

“It was a good weight off the shoulders. It let everyone play a little more freely. Try new things, take more risks in the attacking third which is something we really needed to work on. It led to a lot of quality chances and another goal,” Spengler said.

Heading into the second half, the Bulls were looking to add on some extra insurance for their first victory of the season.

With a strong momentum continuing throughout the game, freshman forward Alex Sannes scored at 81st minute, doubling USF’s lead.

With USF accumulating 16 shots while Mercer only grabbed seven, the Bulls’ first shutout showed the assertiveness they have been attempting to tap into all season.

Coach Bob Butehorn believes this match will allow them to set up for their upcoming conference campaign.

“Honestly, training after a win is so much better, it’s so much more fun. I think that’s going to be the juice we need to get going. For us right now we’re focusing on us and making sure we sharpen our game and get ready for FAU,” Butehorn said.

South Florida will open conference play against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.