USF women’s soccer lost 2-0 to ECU on Thursday night at Corbett Stadium, snapping an 11-game win streak since becoming conference opponents in 2014.
It marked the first time the Bulls (5-5-1, 1-1-1 AAC) were shut out by the Pirates (7-2-3, 1-0-1 AAC) in the 16 matches they have faced each other since 2002.
Despite the Bulls’ efforts, the Pirates managed to maintain 52% in possession of the ball during the game. USF committed 14 fouls and ECU racked up 10.
The first half was a tactical display from both teams. Sophomore forward midfielder Gentiana Fetaj made the only shot on goal for the Bulls. The Pirates took seven shots in total with five in the first half, while the Bulls had three total.
Coach Denise Schilte-Brown discussed the team’s game plan and highlighted her hopes for a more aggressive approach in the second half.
“I think we have a lot of unselfish strikers,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think some of them have to take that responsibility and be a little more dangerous.”
Sophomore goalie Leire Herraez Gallach played a key part in the Bulls’ strong defense. She made multiple key saves, including one aimed for the top right of the goal in the 28th minute.
Junior defender Georgia Brown stepped up for a crucial team save in the 36th minute.
ECU’s defense made a bottom-left goal kick in the 40th minute, which put the Pirates in the lead. Schilte-Brown recognized the Pirates’ strength.
“They scored off what I considered what they’re good at, the corner kicks and throw-ins,” Schilte-Brown said.
In the second half, USF ramped up its offensive efforts, taking six shots compared to ECU’s two. Junior forward midfielder Serita Thurton and Fetaj tested ECU’s defenses, but their shots were saved.
The Bulls demonstrated resilience, dominating in shots during the second half. The Bulls made six shots and earned three corner kicks, while the Pirates received one corner. Gallach continued her solid performance by saving a crucial shot made by ECU.
“We didn’t have the tenacity to get on the end of them and score,” Schilte-Brown said.
“They were trying to shut down [Fetaj] from her shooting. She probably needed to find the ball quicker so that other people could find it back to the net.”
The Pirates’ penalty kick in the 76th minute cemented their victory.
Schilte-Brown remained optimistic about the team’s ability to grow and adapt from this loss.
“We’ll learn from this game [and] we’ll grow from this game because we have time to do that,” Schilte-Brown said.
The Bulls are aiming to bounce back with a victory against UAB on Oct. 5.