After taking down Charlotte 2-1 Sunday night at Corbett Stadium, USF men’s soccer advanced to the semifinals of the AAC Tournament for the first time since 2019.
Despite being lower seeded and the away team, the 49ers (9-5-2, 3-4-2 AAC) put forth an upset-worthy effort, making the match more competitive than it otherwise would have been. Charlotte led South Florida (7-5-4, 5-1-3 AAC) 16-14 in shots and 5-3 for shots on target.
In this win or go home scenario, the difference was Bulls redshirt senior goalkeeper Jackson Weyman, who had four second half saves. A couple of these game-saving plays came on shots that were no further than 5 yards from the goal.
“Reaction saves. We work on it in training every week before the games,” Weyman said. “Just staying balanced and reacting best to the ball.”
Shifting their focus, the Bulls don’t have much time to celebrate the quarterfinal victory as they are set to take on a strong and familiar opponent in the next round — No. 2 seed SMU.
Earlier in the season, the Mustangs (10-4-1, 6-3 AAC) dominated the Bulls 3-1, controlling possession of the ball and generating more opportunities than USF.
The Bulls have seen SMU at its best, whereas the Mustangs could easily overlook their opponent after the lackluster performance from their previous matchup.
Keys to this game for the Bulls include keeping possession of the ball, maintaining composure throughout the course of the game and cleaning up unforced turnovers. USF only produced seven shots in their previous match.
Coach Bob Butehorn kept his goal for the upcoming matchup simple.
“Win. That’s what it is. Win,” Butehorn said.
South Florida will take on SMU in Miami at FIU on Thursday at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.