Monday, August 17, 2009

Colleges: USF downs UT to retain Rowdies Cup

The University of South Florida scored three times in the final 30 minutes to retain the Rowdies Cup with a 4-1 win against the University of Tampa at the USF Soccer Stadium on Monday night.

The defending Big East champions took the lead for good a little over a minute into the third of three 30-minute periods, initially going close when Zak Boggs had a low shot from 10 yards parried wide by UT goalkeeper Ryan Thompson.

Thompson was powerless to stop a strong header by Jorge Mora off the ensuing corner, taken by Alessandro Bianchi, putting USF up 2-1 in the 62nd minute.

USF added to its lead six minutes later, as Boggs floated an angled ball from the left towards Ogi Perucica at the top of the penalty. Perucica turned his marker to run onto the ball and struck a spectacular right-footed volley into the left corner of the net.

Boggs completed the scoring 13 minutes from the end as he buried a chance after being slipped in by Brock Jennings.

Bulls coach George Kiefer, whose team only began training on Friday, was happy with his side’s performance.

“I thought the guys in the second 30 and the last 30, they got better,” Kiefer said. “They came in very fit, we didn’t score four goals [in a game] all of last year, so I think this team has a lot of work to do, but it’s good three days in.”

Tampa opened more brightly, using pressure to disrupt USF’s rhythm and win possession in dangerous areas. Pascal Milien in particular was a menace throughout the game, using his speed to take on the USF defense. Karl Swan also had a pair of chances in the first period that were well saved by USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella.

It was USF that took the lead, though, six minutes into the second period as Felipe Libreros picked up the ball on the left, cut inside towards the top of the penalty area, and fired a low shot that appeared to deceive Thompson as it skidded under him into the net.

Tampa tied the game through Milien, who was awarded and converted a penalty with just over seven minutes to go in the period. Milien beat his defender on the left, and had flicked to ball up to try and volley it across the face of goal when Ashani Fairclough came in with a high boot, taking the ball first but clattering into Milien second, which made the referee point to the spot.

USF moved to 4-0-1 since the re-establishment of the annual game between the two schools, but Kiefer said he was impressed with the way Tampa had played.

“I think that’s the best team we’ve seen out of them,” Kiefer said. “They’re solid in every spot, and I thought they made it a very good game for us.”

UT coach Adrian Bush wasn’t as charitable towards his own side, paying credit to the Bulls.

“I’m disappointed,” Bush said. “Give credit to those guys at USF, they’ve got a great team, a great program, but I felt as a whole and as a group when it was really time to really step up and perform at a high level, we had some players, and as a team, we couldn’t match that.”

Division I No.11-ranked South Florida goes on the road for its second preseason game, against No.3 Akron on Friday night, while Division II No.3-ranked Tampa travels to face Jacksonville on Wednesday night.

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