Bulls fall in War on I-4, but secure No. 2 seed

Sophomore midfielder Chiara Hahn had three shots, one of which was on goal, in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to UCF. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

For the first time since 2019, South Florida women’s soccer lost the War on I-4. The Bulls dropped the final game of the regular season 2-0 against UCF on Thursday at home.

The Bulls (8-8, 5-3 AAC) struggled to maintain possession of the ball in the first half. USF was frequently dispossessed on the ball and had a tough time stringing together a series of passes. UCF (9-2-4, 7-0-1 AAC) played much calmer and were able to establish a control of the pace of the game.

With the lack of possession time, South Florida’s goalkeeper and defense were put under major pressure, but responded well. They only allowed one first half goal out of 11 shots, in what could have easily been a four or five goal half for the Knights, considering how many dangerous opportunities they produced.

Coming out in the second half, South Florida looked like a completely different team. The Bulls dominated possession, applied constant pressure and created numerous scoring chances. The Knights were held to three shots in the second half, but capitalized in the 66th minute.

Both teams’ goalkeepers had six saves. USF led UCF by one shot, but the Knights had four corners to USF’s three.

Despite the loss, USF secured the second seed in the conference.

“It’s two games to the NCAA,” coach Denise Shilte-Brown said. “You take it one game at a time and you don’t think about the past and you don’t think about the future. You put all hands on deck one game at a time.”

The Bulls will next play in the semifinals of the AAC Tournament at 4 p.m. on Nov. 3 against the winner of the SMU vs. Cincinnati game. The matchup will be at UCF and will be streamed on ESPN+.