Noelle Pineiro scored in the 53rd minute to give South Florida’s womens soccer team a 1-0 victory in its regular season opener against Florida Atlantic on Friday night.
Pineiro created her own chance, weaving into the penalty area before firing a left-footed shot from 16 yards out past FAU goalkeeper Ashley Lantes into the net.
“I think she had a mission to score a goal,” Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown told GoUSFBulls.com. “Nothing was going to stop her, it didn’t matter how many players she had to cut to get to that goal. I was real proud of her, it was a real individual effort.”
While the Bulls pushed on to try and scored a second to put the game away, it wouldn’t be necessary, as USF held FAU without a shot in the second half, Mallori Lofton-Malachi earning the shutout with her three first half saves.
“Mallori has a great presence back there,” Schilte-Brown said. “Although we had three in the back tonight, you could often see that our shape looked like four because she wants the ball at her feet, and that has a calming effect on the back.”
South Florida next travels to face No.7 Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. in what should be be a stern test for the Bulls. The Gators, who are the preseason favorites to win the SEC, defeated Florida International 3-0 on Friday night to move to 2-0-0 on the season.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Schilte-Brown said. “They’re a highly ranked team, and they have a lot of historical success, so I view it as a great opportunity. The girls are excited about it, and we’re going to go up there and it’ll take every ounce of their ability to break us because we’re going to show up ready to play.”