Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Colleges: Kiefer looking for more thoughtful decision-making

TAMPA – If there’s one thing No.6 South Florida men’s coach George Kiefer would like to see improvement in from his team, it is the Bulls’ decision-making.

Kiefer said that in the Bulls’ opening loss of the season to West Virginia on Friday night, he thought his side played into the Mountaineers’ hands by giving possession away in areas where they could counter-attack quickly, using their pace to create scoring opportunities at the South Florida end of the field.

“I think we fed them a lot with how we played,” Kiefer said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think we allowed them to get stronger as the game went on by how we were playing everything in front of them, with our giveaways. They are a very good team in transition, I think if we played that game again, we would take that transition away by how we attack and the decisions we make.”

The Bulls fared far better in their game against Pittsburgh, a 2-1 victory on Sunday. Played on a heavily wet field, so much so that the field was shifted to avoid large areas of water build-up, Kiefer thought his side played a far more intelligent game against the Panthers. Still, the Bulls were still working on putting pressure on opposing defenses, and being more clinical in their finishing in practice.

“I think if we keep growing and we learn from that, really that could be a big thing for us,” Kiefer said. “To really go into a game knowing what another team is looking for, and being intelligent with how we’re attacking.

“We have so much emphasis on keeping the ball and possessing it that at times it can hurt us. I think if we can grow with how we play certain teams, because I know we’re going to see a lot of (defensive) numbers and teams that are just looking to counter and transition on us and get numbers behind the ball, I think the majority of our games are going to be that way, how do we handle that?”

AWESOME ATTINELLA: Bulls goalkeeper Jeff Attinella continued his standout season with a great performance against West Virginia that allowed the game to reach overtime.

“Jeff is coming up big, and I think that helps us,” Kiefer said. “(It) deflates a team where they have a big chance and he robs them of a goal.”

While many goalkeepers can be overly demonstrative, a cliched image of a goalkeeper is one of someone continually unhappy and shouting at his defenders, Kiefer believes Attinella’s calm demeanour allows his defenders, and the rest of the team, to play their game.

“Jeff had a good way of handling himself,” Kiefer said. “He keeps calm, he’s rewarding of defenders when they do good work, he’s not one of these goalkeepers that’s always looking at what the guys aren’t doing, because then they start tuning you out. I think he brings very good leadership and we always feel good about any game because we have Jeff back there.”

Colleges: Tritons remain perfect in SSC, down Lions

Eckerd rallied from a halftime deficit to remain undefeated in Sunshine State Conference play as it defeated Saint Leo 2-1 on Tuesday night at the Turley Athletic Complex.

Daniel Asher gave the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute, capitalizing on an excellent cross by Leonardo Noqueira from the right. Asher controlled before firing his shot home from the left side of the penalty area.

Saint Leo (3-5-0, 0-2-0 SSC) had other opportunities to score in the first half, but were denied thanks to some excellent play by Tritons goalkeeper Domenic Spedaliere, who made four first-half saves.

That proved to be crucial as Eckerd (5-3-0, 3-0-0) tied the game eight minutes into the second half. Luke Sheekey, who earlier in the week was named the SSC offensive player of the week, scored off a rebound to tie the game.

Sheekey also had a hand in what proved to be the game-winner, slotting a through-ball into the penalty area for Anthony Arico, who fired home.

The Lions tried to rebound, but were unable to create any serious chance to equalize as they were unable to put a shot on Spedaliere’s goal in the final 45 minutes.

Sheekey was thrilled to have finally defeated the Lions, who hadn’t lost to their St. Petersburg-rival since the 2003-04 season.

"It is unbelievable,” Sheekey said. “3-0 in the conference for the first time, first win against Saint Leo, it means the world to me, it means the world to our coach, it means the world to our players.”

Both sides will next take to the field on Saturday, with Eckerd trying to remain undefeated in SSC play against Rollins, and Saint Leo hosting Florida Tech at University Field.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Colleges: Bulls women rewarded for hard work

TAMPA – After doing everything but find victories against sides like Florida and LSU early on in the season, South Florida’s women are feeling as though their 2-1 victory against West Virginia at the USF Soccer Stadium on Sunday is a reward for the hard work they’ve been putting in over the season so far.

“Definitely,” forward Chelsea Klotz said after Tuesday’s practice. “We’ve been working really hard and winning against West Virginia is huge, and I think it’s going to open the door for more wins against really tough teams.”

The victory was the first for the Bulls in Big East play, having secured a point on the road against Pittsburgh earlier in the week. Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown said she thought the positive attitude the team has maintained throughout the season has helped them pull through and reach this point.

“We’ve been real positive with the girls telling them they’re a good team and that they are showing it on the field and doing some really good things when we’re playing some really tough opponents,” Schilte-Brown said. “We haven’t been coming out on the ‘W’ side of things, so to play that game, and work really hard and get the ‘W’, I think it feels like a reward.”

Klotz added that this may be a springboard for the Bulls to push on from, and make a run at returning to the conference tournament at the end of the season.

“We were all really excited, and I think it’s definitely going to push us that much harder to want to beat teams in the conference,” Klotz said. “We want to get to the Big East conference (tournament), and beating West Virginia is a big statement I think to everyone in the Big East, so we’re excited.”

PRIME PINEIRO: Noelle Pineiro had what proved the game-winning goal against the Mountaineers, giving her six on the season, and in turn was named on Tuesday as a Primetime Performer of the Week.

Schilte-Brown is pleased with the progress Pineiro has shown as the Bulls have employed a more attacking formation this season, while also giving some credit to the players that have allowed Pineiro to achieve her success.

“I think as a freshman she did well, but now her game has been taken to another level,” Schilte-Brown said, “but I think it has more to do with the teammates around her, to be fair. I think they’ve helped her bring her game to another level. It was there last year, it was just that she was farther away from the goal because we were in a deeper system, she didn’t have as many balls being played to her, we’re a better possession team, so we’re keeping the ball for a longer periods of time, which means she’s seeing the ball more.”

Klotz, who played with Pineiro for Tampa-based club RSL Florida before both players came to South Florida, said the work-rate Pineiro has shown this season has also helped her strike-partner find more chances.

“She’s just working that much harder,” Klotz said. “She has great footwork, when she wants to score you know she has great determination, and she’s working so hard to be the best player she can be.”

Colleges: Lions men getting back to full strength

SAINT LEO – While it hasn’t been quite on the same scale as its women’s team, the Saint Leo men’s soccer team hasn’t been having the best go of it in the health department either.

Thankfully, though, for Coach Joel Harrison, the Lions have almost their full squad back after the flu gradually made its way through the locker room.

According to Harrison, the illnesses started popping up after the trip to Georgia Southwestern State. At one point the squad was reduced to only 14 players at training, and the Lions had to play with a vastly shorter bench than normal. That affected the team’s preparation leading into its games last week against Flagler and Rollins.

Now he has all but two of three members of the 30-man roster available, meaning the Lions can incorporate 11-on-11 work into practice again, something Harrison said helps a great deal.

“In practice, you work on pieces, you take pieces of the game and work on it, and you want to be able to put that into a full-sided game at the end,” Harrison said. “We could work on the bits and pieces, but we couldn’t put it into the full-sided to make sure that everyone was getting it worked on in an 11-on-11 match.”

Now the Lions face Eckerd on Tuesday night before hosting Florida Tech on Saturday night. The Lions are currently on a three-game losing streak, but Harrison is focused on what lies ahead for his team.

“For us we’re just focusing, I know its cliché-ish, but we’re focusing on one game at a time,” he said. “You can’t predict the future, and you can’t go back and change the past, so you focus on the next match and go out and do the best we can.”

MAKING A MARK: Freshman Erik Mozzo hasn’t been shy about making his presence felt, something that has made Harrison very happy with his young goalkeeper.

“Sometimes freshmen don’t want to tell upperclassmen what to do,” Harrison said, “but as a goalkeeper he’s stepped right in and he knows it doesn’t matter what year I am in school, I’ve got to talk to the guys in front of me to tell them what I want.”

Mozzo, from Beaufort, S.C., has already earned a Sunshine State Conference defensive player of the week award, and has quickly earned the trust of the rest of the team. Harrison said his play isn’t a surprise, because when the team brought him in for tryouts, as Division II schools are allowed to in recruiting, he was exactly the same way.

“He was back there, he never kept anything to himself,” Harrison said. “We’ve reinforced that he’s got to continue doing that, but he was already doing that.”

STEPPING UP: The absences caused by injuries meant that some new faces got chances to contribute to the side, and Harrison is pleased with what he has seen from many of them.

“Cody Allen has done very well,” Harrison said. “He’s a kid who in his first two years didn’t play a lot, and has stepped in and done very well.”

Three freshmen have also caught the coach’s eye, with Matt Stewart, Jason Manaras and Michael Panter all finding themselves on the field at key points of recent games. Harrison said he thought Panter did very well after being brought on late against Rollins as he provided dangerous crosses into the Tars penalty area when the Lions were looking for an equalizer.

“We’ve had a couple of younger guys that haven’t played a lot,” Harrison said. “But when they’ve got in they’ve done well and are starting to get a feel for college soccer.”

Polls: Bulls slip to No.6, Spartans rise to No.4

After suffering its first loss of the season, the South Florida men’s soccer team dropped three places to No.6 in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I poll released on Tuesday afternoon.

The Bulls rebounded from a 1-0 overtime loss to West Virginia on Friday night with a 2-1 win against Pittsburgh, and remain the highest-ranked team in the Big East. No.17 Louisville is the only other Big East squad currently ranked, while four squads are in the also receiving votes category.

The University of Tampa men moved up one spot in the Division II poll to No.4, and will face a top-ranked opponent in Lynn on Saturday.

On the women’s side, Saint Leo remained in the also receiving votes group in the Division II poll after going 1-1-0 in the past week.

Colleges: O'Connor upbeat despite latest setback

SAINT LEO – Anyone looking for proof of the existence of Murphy’s Law should probably be focused on the series of unfortunate events that have been a running theme throughout the Saint Leo women’s soccer team’s season so far.

With the other misfortunes already documented, the Lions were dealt a further blow moments before their crucial Sunshine State Conference match with Rollins last week as defender Malloree Enoch suffered a torn ACL in the pregame warm-up. Enoch tried to play, but was only able to last three minutes before it was clear she couldn’t go on.

“That just killed us,” Lions coach Ged O’Connor said. “There’s just been issue after issue after issue, and this is just another one.

“It’s been frustrating, I can’t lie, but it’s not going to be easy, it’s not meant to be easy, so you get up, dust yourself off and go again.”

O’Connor, though, won’t allow the latest setback to cloud his vision of what he believes this season can still be for the Lions. Before Monday afternoon’s practice, O’Connor remained optimistic that despite everything, this season could still be a successful one.

“I’m excited,” O’Connor said. “I’m optimistic. This is why you play sports, you get knocked down, you get back up and you see what you’ve got.”

BIG SHOES TO FILL: When All-American goalkeeper Lauren Hudson graduated after last season, O’Connor knew whoever took her place in net for the Lions would have a big role to fill.

Freshman Cristina Coca, who was a standout in her four years at Bloomingdale, has stepped into the role, and O’Connor is pleased with what he’s seen from her so far.

“Coca’s been doing well,” O’Connor said. “Obviously she’s come in behind Lauren, who was Lauren, and Coca came in knowing she had some big shoes to fill.

“We had a lot of chats about that before she came in, so she knew, and she knows exactly what I expect of her, but moreso what the team needs. They need to have a player they can be confident in.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Colleges: No.3 Bulls rebound with victory against Pittsburgh

Goals by Andre Mittoo and Bernardo Anor allowed No.3 South Florida to rebound from its first loss of the season as the Bulls beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Founders Field.

Mittoo gave the Bulls (6-1-1, 2-1-1 Big East) the lead in the 16th minute, capitalizing on a rebound after Ashani Fairslough had been initially denied.

Bulls coach George Kiefer said he thought the Bulls aggressiveness was crucial to their overall performance on a poor surface that had taken on a lot of water over the past two days.

“On this type of surface (rough and bumpy) we really wanted to push the game into their half of the field,” said Kiefer. “We played out backs very aggressive and stepped up the pressure. We also changed up our formations which is something that we have been working on, and I think we are getting good enough where we can slide into something different if we need to in certain games.”

The Bulls maintained their hold on the game throughout the first half, and then started the second half brightly too. That led to a 52nd minute penalty kick that was converted by Anor to give the Bulls a 2-0 lead.

Pittsburgh (1-8-0, 0-4-0) pulled a goal back with five minutes to go, but the Bulls held on to earn victory. After losing its first game of the season on Friday night against West Virginia, Kiefer was pleased with the team’s performance.

“I thought the guys did a very good job today,” Kiefer said. “Pitt is one of the more difficult places to play with its field, couple that with the fact that is has been raining the past few days, so it was a very muddy surface and we had to tweak the way we played. But I thought that our guys did a great job with that.”

Colleges: Eagle, Pineiro key Bulls' victory

South Florida’s womens soccer team made a major statement, and may have turned a major corner in their season, as the Bulls earned their first ever win against West Virginia. An early goal by Boo Eagle put the Bulls on top, and Noelle Pineiro scored her sixth goal of the season in a 2-1 victory at the USF Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Eagle’s first goal as a Bull came in the fourth minute as she controlled a free kick by Pineiro and fired her left-footed shot into the net.

The Mountaineers, playing with the wind at their backs, held the bulk of play in the Bulls half before halftime, but were unable to find a way past Bulls goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi.

Pineiro doubled the Bulls lead with 12 minutes to go, taking a pass from Chelsea Klotz before driving home her shot from 13 yards. Pineiro’s goal proved to important as West Virginia pulled a goal back five minutes later, Carolyn Blank heading home from Nicole Mailloux’s corner.

The Mountaineers were unable to tie the game, though, allowing the Bulls to earn their first Big East win of the season, and even their record overall.

“Today was a great win for our program,” Bulls head coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “We have had some chances to beat some good teams but couldn't close it out so it was good to close the match out. For us to beat a program like West Virginia really gives the team a lot of confidence.”

Colleges: Tampa women end losing streak, beat Georgia College and State

Samantha Kay scored her second goal in as many games, and the University of Tampa snapped a three-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory against Georgia College and State in Savannah, Ga. on Sunday afternoon.

Tampa has started the game brightly, putting early pressure on the Bobcats goal, and Kay struck in the 14th minute, capitalizing on an opportunity created by Megan Tobin. The Spartans (4-5-1) maintained their pressure for the remainder of the half, outshooting the Bobcats 11-2 in the opening 45 minutes, but were unable to add to their advantage.

GCS (5-4-1) came back into the game in the second half, but rarely tested Tampa goalkeeper Saige Steinmetz, who had to make only two saves for her second shutout of the season.

The Spartans will now begin their challenge for a Sunshine State Conference title as they travel to face Nova Southeastern on Friday night at 6 p.m.

Colleges: No.5 Spartans defeat Barry in SSC opener

Brian Fekete and Pascal Milien both found the net as No.5 Tampa opened its Sunshine State Conference campaign on a winning note, defeating Barry 2-1 at Pepin-Rood Stadium on Saturday night.

The Spartans (5-0-1, 1-0-0 SSC) were in control for the bulk of the game, pressuring the Barry net as Dominic Goncalves and Lister Warren both had early shots saved. They were rewarded for their pressure in the 44th minute, when a speculative long-range shot by Fekete found its way into the net. It was the freshman’s first goal for the Spartans.

Tampa doubled its lead in the 64th minute as Milien created his own opportunity before sending a shot into the top right corner of the net.

Barry pulled a goal back with five minutes to go, Andres Perez scoring for the Buccaneers (3-3-1, 1-2-0), but their last-gasp efforts to tie the game were withstood by the Spartans.

Tampa will next host No.2 Lynn on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game that should have a major say in who wins the SSC regular season title.

Colleges: Lions drop third straight, lose to Rollins

Saint Leo dropped its third consecutive game, a goal just before halftime by J.D. Gruenewald giving No.15 Rollins a 1-0 victory at University Field on Saturday night.

After the Lions’ Sunshine State Conference opener was delayed for over an hour-and-a-half, both sides started brightly, but it was the Tars that began to take control midway through the half, Nick Sowers and Bradley Welch each having a pair of chances to open the scoring.

Saint Leo (3-4-0, 0-1-0 SSC) did come back into the game as the half wore on, but the Tars (8-0-1, 1-0-0 SSC) took the lead four minutes before the break. After a Rollins shot was blocked, the ball came to Gruenewald on the left side of the penalty area, and he controlled and fired a low shot into the net.

The Lions came out with greater energy in the second half, pressuring the Rollins goal, but they were unable to find an answer. The Lions momentum stalled for good with four minutes to go as the lights went out of the field, and after a short delay the Tars were able to see out the remainder of the game.

The Lions will try to even their overall and SSC record when they travel to face Eckerd on Tuesday night.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

College Matchday: Barry at No.5 Tampa

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., Pepin-Rood Stadium

NEED TO KNOW: No.5 Tampa opens its Sunshine State Conference schedule as it hosts Barry, a side it has historically held the upper-hand over. The Spartans are 14-7-2 all-time against the Buccaneers, including a 3-2 double-overtime victory in Miami last season.

The Spartans are expected to give a first start to New Zealander newcomer Greg O’Connor, who has impressed since he joined the squad at the beginning of this season. Coming off a 1-1 draw against then No.22 West Florida, Tampa (4-0-1) is looking to extend its undefeated start to the season.

Barry enters coming off a 3-1 win against Nova Southeastern, but it has been an up-and-down season so far for the Buccaneers (4-3-1), who haven’t yet been able to put together two consecutive victories. Mark Anderson leads the Bucs with seven goals in six games, including what proved to be the game-winner against Nova on Tuesday.

College Matchday: No.15 Rollins at Saint Leo

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., University Field

NEED TO KNOW: Saint Leo will try to rebound from a frustrating loss against Flagler College on Wednesday night in its Sunshine State Conference opener.

TheNo.15-ranked Tars enter the game undefeated, and on a five-game winning streak after a 3-2 victory against Warner Southern eight days ago. Bradley Welch scored twice in that game, bringing his season total to four. Dennis Chin leads the Tars with five goals on the season, while goalkeeper Aaron Rokeach has been solid in net, holding a 0.55 goals against average. The Tars won the corresponding fixture last season 1-0.

Saint Leo’s loss to Flager evened its record to 3-3-0, with the Lions having lost their last two outings. After starting the season strongly with four goals in the opening two games, Bobby Huertas has cooled off being held without a point in the last four games.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Colleges: West Virginia hands No.3 USF its first loss

West Virginia’s Abel Sebele scored just over a minute into overtime as the Mountaineers handed No.3 South Florida its first loss of the season 1-0 on Friday night at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Sebele seized on a pass by Alex Silva to slot his shot past advancing Bulls goalkeeper Jeff Attinella with 72 seconds gone in the extra period, sending the West Virginia players into a frenzied pile of celebration near the right corner flag.

Attinella had been the Bulls best player, and it was he that had allowed the game to go to overtime with a number of outstanding saves that kept the game scoreless. Most notable was a point-blank save early in the second half off a header by Moeryhan Doue after a perfectly played cross from the left by Ryan Gillespie found him at the far post, Attinella turning the ball away from just inside the post.

Attinella also made an excellent stop just before the end of regulation, getting down to his left to turn away a low, angled shot towards the right corner of the net from Doue on a late break down the Mountaineers left side.

South Florida, on the other hand, wasn’t sharp in the attacking third, failing to force West Virginia goalkeeper Zach Johnson into a single save while only attempting three shots overall.

The Bulls will have to regroup quickly as they now travel to Pittsburgh to face the Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m., no doubt looking for a far improved performance.

Colleges: Spartans can't hold early lead, fall to No.19 Pirates

The Tampa Spartans scored twice in the first six minutes, but couldn’t hold off a solid Armstrong Atlantic attack, which rallied to earn the No.19 Pirates a 4-2 victory on Friday evening.

Brittan Spence gave the Spartans (3-5-1) a shock second minute lead, and the lead quickly became 2-0 in the sixth minute as Samantha Kay scored her first of the season.

But the Pirates hit back before halftime, Kristina Paschutti and Morgan Mitchell scored within three minutes of each other around the half-hour mark before Kristin Burton gave Armstrong Atlantic the lead almost on the stroke of half time.

Paschutti scored her second to put the game for the Pirates (6-1-2) in the 72nd minute, Burton adding her second assist of the night to add to her earlier goal.

The Spartans were unable to mount any serious threat on the Pirates goal after that, and will now try to regroup before they face Georgia College and State University on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Savannah, Ga.

Colleges: Lions put 13 past Lady Cougars

Saint Leo scored 18 seconds into the contest, while Hannah Beard recorded her first hat trick of the season and the Lions romped to a 13-0 victory against an overmatched Clearwater Christian side on Friday night at University Field.

Sara Macko scored on the Lions first attack of the game, and the lead was already 4-0 by the 21st minute, Beard finding the net twice before Pia Soesemann scored her third goal of the season.

Clearwater Christian was unable to muster a shot on goal, and saw goalkeeper Megan Dixon’s goal peppered with shots all night as the Lions finished with 50 shots. Dixon finished with 17 saves.

Beard completed her hat trick in the 72nd minute, while Aija Bent-Trinder scored twice for the Lions.

The Lions take a week off before they return to Sunshine State Conference action against Florida Tech on October 3.

College Matchday: No.3 South Florida at West Virginia

WHEN: Friday, 8 p.m., Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium

NEED TO KNOW: The Bulls will try to maintain their undefeated start to the season, and their historical upper hand over the Mountaineers, as they travel to Morgantown. The Bulls hold an 11-3-2 record all-time against West Virginia, including 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings.

West Virginia defeated Cincinnati 2-0 after opening Big East play with a 2-0 loss to No.16 Louisville. Goals have been hard to come by so far for the Mountaineers, with the side having scored only four goals in six games, but that has been made up for by a stingy defense. Goalkeeper Zach Johnson has only allowed five goals in six games, and has three shutouts on the season.

The Bulls have been boosted by the return to the starting line-up of Bernardo Anor, who had a goal and an assist last weekend as the Bulls defeated Notre Dame and tied Marquette. The Bulls also boast a strong defensive record, with goalkeeper Jeff Attinella having recorded three shutouts on his way to a 0.48 goals against average. The Bulls will move on to Pittsburgh following Friday night’s game to face the Panthers on Sunday.

College Women's Matchday: Clearwater Christian at Saint Leo

WHEN: Friday, 5 p.m., University Field

NEED TO KNOW: The Lions will try to bounce back from defeat against No.9 Rollins on Wednesday evening as they face a Clearwater Christian squad that ended a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 win against Florida College on Tuesday.

The Lady Cougars are led by Laura Vaughn, who has three goals, but have generally struggled defensively, with senior goalkeeper Megan Dixon holding a 2.33 goals against average in six games this season.

The loss to Rollins was the first defeat of the season for the Lions, who held a lead with just over 30 minutes to play. Jasmine Johnson has been a welcome addition to the side, scoring two goals in the past two games, while Hannah Beard leads the team with three goals.

College Women's Matchday: Tampa at No.19 Armstrong Atlantic

WHEN: Friday, 5 p.m., AT&T Field

NEED TO KNOW: The Spartans embark on their final non-conference trip of the season and face host Armstrong Atlantic in their third straight game against a ranked opponent.

The Pirates are ranked No.19 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II poll thanks to a 5-12 record, and enter the game on a five-game undefeated streak. Kristin Burton had a career game in their last outing, a 7-2 thrashing of Clayton State, as she scored five of the Pirates seven goals.

The Spartans lost both games against No.8 Carson-Newman and No.6 Columbus State last weekend, but Coach Gerry Lucey has been pleased with the progress his young squad has shown. Tampa also faces Georgia College and State on Sunday before opening its Sunshine State Conference schedule against Nova Southeastern next Friday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Colleges: USF's Lofton-Malachi, Pitt's Kulla star in goalless draw

South Florida’s Mallori Lofton-Malachi and Pittsburgh’s Natalie Kulla stole the show on Thursday night as both recorded shutouts as the Bulls and Panthers played to a 0-0 tie at Founders Field.

The lack of goals on the night did not come by way of a lack of chances as the two sides combined for 29 totals shots. Brittany Burt and Taylor Patterson each forced a pair of saves out of Kulla in the Pittsburgh net as the Panthers goalkeeper made eight saves on the night.

Lofton-Malachi wasn’t to be outdone, recording seven saves for her second shutout of the season, and 17th of her USF career.

“Tonight was a very well-played match,” Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “I am proud of the way the team came in and battled for 110 minutes. We understand that every league game from here on out will be a difficult task and tonight proved that. Pittsburgh is tough place to come in and play. Of course we wanted to come out with a victory but a tie on the road in this conference is an acceptable outcome.”

As expected, Ashley Cuba proved the biggest scoring threat for the Panthers, taking a game-high four shots, two of which forced Lofton-Malachi into saves. But the Bulls defense was solid, holding off some late pressure by the Panthers to earn their first point in Big East play.

South Florida will return home and begin a five-game home stand on Sunday against West Virginia at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on the Bright House Sports Network.

Colleges: Spartans O'Connor ready for first start

TAMPA – It’s a long way from Wellington, New Zealand to Tampa.

A little over 8,000 miles, in fact.

After coming that distance to play for the University of Tampa men’s soccer team, forward Greg O’Connor has come a long way in the two months he’s been with the team, and will make his first start for the Spartans on Saturday as they open their Sunshine State Conference schedule against Barry.

“I’m really excited about it,” O’Connor said. “Making a big move from New Zealand, it’s been a big change for me and it’s been good so far. Things have been great and I’m looking forward to starting this game.”

O’Connor has been bringing energy to the Spartans attack in the past two games, but it did take him time to get adjusted to the Florida climate. The temperature in New Zealand rarely gets above 80 degrees in the summer, so joining the Spartans at the height of summer left was a major difference.

“It’s taken him a little time to get adjusted,” Spartans coach Adrian Bush said. “He’s had to adapt to the heat, but I think he’s adjusted very well. I give him a lot of credit, because he’s a long, long way from home, and he’s doing very well.”

Weather aside, though, Bush said O’Connor has fit right in with his new teammates.

“He’s a very likable buy, great personalty, great spirit, maturity level is very good,” Bush said. “You can tell he comes from not just a good family but a good soccer background. He gets it, he understands the importance of working hard.”

SLIGHT DROP: Tampa dropped to No.5 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II poll this week after a 1-1 draw against West Florida. Bush said while the performance against the Argonauts was disappointing, he was happy that the side had pulled out a tie, and had appeared to learn a valuable lesson from the game.

“I definitely think we’ve had a great week thus far in training,” Bush said. “I think the attitude is right. You know, it’s one thing to play poorly, we give West Florida all the credit in the world, but we didn’t play well, but the main thing, and I think the maturity of our team, is to understand why we didn’t play well. And it wasn’t about breaking down film or anything, it was workrate, and I think it was a big lesson for them. Thank god it didn’t cost us a loss, but I think it was a wake-up call for them, and we make look back from now and say that was a turning point in our season.”

Midfielder Ryan Griffin said he thinks the reduced pressure of not being ranked No.1 will allow the team to loosen up as it nears the midway point of its season.

“When you’re No.1 in the nation, everyone wants to kill you,” Griffin said. “Now we’re No.5, there’s a little more breathing room, and we can look forward to conference play that starts this weekend.”

CONFERENCE CALL: Barry finished with a 3-4-1 record in SSC play last season, and currently hold a 4-3-1 record entering Saturday night’s game. That doesn’t mean Bush is taking the Buccaneers, or any other SSC opponent, lightly.

“This is what it’s all about,” Bush said. “One of our main goals was to win the conference, and now it’s one game at a time. There’s no easy games, we know that, and we have a lot of respect for all the teams in this conference, but you’ve got to get result, and the eight-game gauntlet starts Saturday.”

Griffin said that while the Spartans had been tested by the games they had faced so far, they were now hitting the critical point of their season.

“The NAIA teams we played were all solid teams, but those games don’t count,” Griffin said. “If you don’t win your conference, or do well in your conference, you’re not going to have a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, so these are the real games. We have eight of them, and we’re looking to win all of them.”

College Women's Matchday: South Florida at Pittsburgh

WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m., Founders Field.

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida faces what Coach Denise Schilte-Brown called a pivotal match-up against Pittsburgh, with the Bulls looking to pick up their first Big East win of the season.

South Florida lost 2-1 to Marquette in its Big East opener last week, while the Panthers earned a 1-1 tie against West Virginia in their Big East opener. Pittsburgh has received a big boost from freshman Ashley Cuba over the past weekend, as she scored a pair of goals and added an assist in the Panthers 4-0 win against St. Bonaventure on Sunday, earning her Big East rookie of the year honors. Cuba leads the Panthers with six goals and three assists on the season, tied for fourth in the Big East with 15 points.

South Florida rebounded from its loss to Marquette with a 3-2 win against Stetson, Chelsea Klotz scoring the game-winning-goal in overtime for her third strike in the last four games. The Panthers won last year’s corresponding fixture 1-0, Ashley Habbel scoring the only goal of the game.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Colleges: No.9 Rollins rallies for victory over Lions

Saint Leo’s womens soccer team twice took the lead, including with just over half an hour to play, but couldn’t hold off the persistent pressure from No.9 Rollins as the Tars earned a 3-2 victory at University Field on Wednesday night.

Jasmine Johnson gave the Lions the lead in the 16th minute, scoring from close range after good work by Chrissy Darwell and Pia Soessmann, who each picked up assists. But the Tars replied quickly, Rachel Jakubowski getting her side back on even terms just two minutes later.

The Tars continued to press, but it was the Lions who retook the lead the lead in the 58th minute, Hannah Beard latching on to a long ball from defender Aija Bent-Trinder before rounding Rollins goalkeeper Michelle Dillingham and putting the ball into the vacant net.

Again, though, the Tars equalized shortly after, Elise Spearing tying the game in the 65th minute. Rollins then took the lead eight minutes later, Chelsea Brady’s cross picking out forward Charlotte Murrell to head home.

The victory gives Rollins an early advantage in the race for the Sunshine State Conference regular season title. The Lions were picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference, with the Tars picked as runner-up.

Saint Leo will try to rebound against Clearwater Christian on Friday evening at 5 p.m. before it returns to SSC play against Florida Tech on October 3.

Colleges: Lions have frustrating night, fall to Flagler

Flagler’s Conor Killeen scored the only goal of the game as Saint Leo's mens soccer team had a frustrating night in front of goal as it fell back to .500 for the season after a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday night.

Killeen scored on a pass from Mack Hough for his second goal of the season, converting one of the few chances Flagler (3-3-1) had on the night.

Saint Leo (3-3-0), on the other hand, carried the bulk of the play, but couldn’t find its scoring touch. While outshooting the Saints 23-6 for the game, the Lions only forced Saints goalkeeper Matt Gilman into three saves for the night, as the bulk of their shots were either blocked by an energetic Flagler defense, or missed the target.

Ruud Van Der Saar and Jonathan Glenn each had five shots apiece for the Lions, two late chances falling to Glenn, but he sent a header with two minutes to play wide, and a shot just before the final whistle over the crossbar.

The Lions will try to rebound as they open their Sunshine State Conference schedule on Saturday, hosting Rollins at University Field at 7 p.m.

Colleges: Tampa women hitting road for competition

TAMPA – The University of Tampa women’s soccer team hits the road again this weekend Armstrong Atlantic University where it will face the No.19-ranked Pirates and Georgia College and State.

The Spartans have had only three home so far this season, caused in part by Coach Gerry Lucey’s desire to play a tough non-conference schedule. Lucey says it is hard to get opponents to come to central Florida, meaning his side has had to travel to find competition. Already this season the Spartans have been to Columbus State twice for weekend tournaments.

“Unfortunately, the same as a lot of the Florida schools, people don’t want to come down here and play,” Lucey said. “A lot of teams are just afraid of coming down here and getting two losses, so they’d rather not do that. As you know we have the likes of Florida Southern, Saint Leo, Rollins, Florida Tech, who are doing well, that they don’t want to play against that level of competition for two games, so we have to go away. We’re left with no choice.”

The Spartans are now 3-4-1 after a pair of losses last weekend, but Lucey thinks that has been a result of his side’s inexperience. With the bulk of the starting line-up being made up of underclassmen, he is pleased with the progress he has seen, especially their performance against No.8 Carson-Newman last Friday, which the Eagles won 1-0 in double-overtime. The only things lacking, in fact, are the goals that will make losses like that turn into wins.

“We outshot them 13-5, completely outpossessed them, their coaches were pretty much embarrased at the end of the game, and they told me, they apologized,” Lucey said. “But at the end of the day, it’s the results. We’re just not putting the ball in the back of the net, we’re not scoring goals.”

GROWING PAINS: The Spartans knew entering the season that they may be in for a bumpy ride this year. While only two years removed from a Division II national championship, the cupboard was pretty bare when it came to players who were going to replace members of that team.

As a result, eight of the starters on the side are underclassmen, with two juniors and one senior rounding out the starting line-up. With the youth of the team he is putting out, Lucey is happy with the attitudes and progress he has seen.

“I’m very happy,” Lucey said. “We knew a couple of years ago we were going to hit this wall. When I came back into program, we were seniors and juniors, and really had nothing much underneath that. We only have two players remaining from that squad from two years ago, so we knew we were going to hit a bump, and obviously this year is the bump, but at the same time we have such a good group with a good attitude who work hard.”

Sophomore captain Samantha Kay thinks the team is meshing well off the field as well as on, and that chemistry is beginning to show itself on the field.

“I think we’re doing a lot better,” Kay said. “Especially with possession and learning how people play and trying to get more attack-minded and less defensive than we were the first few games.”

OLD HAND: Saige Steinmetz hadn’t played in goal since her senior year of high school, but after the Spartans struggled in net for the first two and a half games of the season, Lucey called on her to fill the role, and she has responded by recording a 0.88 goals against average so far this season.

“It’s getting better each game,” Steinmetz said. “I think I’m getting more and more used to it, I’ve just got to keep practicing at it. I like it though.”

Lucey said Steinmetz was just as valuable as an outfield player for the Spartans, but this season they needed her stability in net to help the side.

“We knew last year that she was a quality ‘keeper, but we also needed her on the field last year,” Lucey said. “We wanted to give our freshman ‘keepers an opportunity last year to play, but that we let in nine goals in the first two-and-a-half games set the team back a little bit, so we thought we needed to switch things up.”

While Steinmetz has brought stability in net, multiple injuries have left her with a rotating cast in the back frou in front of her. Lucey said that currently he only has four of the eight defenders on the Spartans roster available, with others filling in as needed.

“It’s hard getting used to, because it’s like I have a new defender in every game because everyone is going down at center back,” Steinmetz said.

College Women's Matchday: Rollins at Saint Leo

WHEN: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., University Field.

NEED TO KNOW: The Lions look for back-to-back Sunshine State Conference victories as they face Rollins. The Tars are perceived to be the biggest obstacle in the way of the Lions for the conference title.

Currently ranked No.9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II poll, Rollins has lost only once this season, to No.2 West Florida, and has been dominant in its last two outings. The Tars defeated Thomas University 9-0 and Flagler College 5-0 in the last 10 days. While Chelsea Brady leads the Tars with five goals in seven games, seven players have multiple goals this season for the Tars.

Saint Leo currently sits just outside the NSCAA Top 25, having played only three games this season thanks to disruptions caused by the weather and illness. Nonetheless, the Lions have opened the season well, winning two straight games, including a 6-0 win against Eckerd on Saturday evening. Part of the reason for the strong start has been the addition of Jasmine Johnson, a transfer from Florida, who has generated rave reviews from teammates for her play so far.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Colleges: Klotz finding scoring touch for Bulls

TAMPA – Most attackers who are in a funk when it comes to finding the back of the net will tell you once you get one, things quickly turn around.

That’s certainly been the case for South Florida’s Chelsea Klotz, who after having a frustrating start to the season has scored three goals in the past four games for the Bulls.

“I was getting a little frustrated at the beginning of the year, but I told myself that once I scored, more of them were going to come,” Klotz said.

The most recent of her goals came on Sunday when she gave the Bulls victory against Stetson in overtime. Klotz had 10 shots overall, and five on goal, the last of those providing the game-winner in the 106th minute.

“(I was) relieved,” she said. “The game had gone on way too long, and I was just happy that we all came together and I got the winning goal.

“I was feeling it coming, because in the last five minutes I had taken shot after shot, and none of them were going in, so I was just praying that one of them would go in.”

The Bulls' finishing as a side appears to be rounding into form, with Noelle Pineiro’s fast start to the season being added to by Brittany Burt’s pair of recent goals. South Florida has already equaled its goals total from 2008, 13, with the bulk of its Big East schedule yet to come.

Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown thinks her young team’s chemistry has reached a point where they have a better understanding of what each player wants to do on the field.

“With new players playing together and finding their stride and finding each other, it just takes time,” Schilte-Brown said. “It’s a really young team, we don’t have six seniors on the field that have been playing for three years, there’s a huge difference. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be any less successful, it just may take time to click.”

PATTERSON’S PROGRESS: While Schilte-Brown didn’t want her midfielders to shirk their defensive responsibilities, she had been encouraging them to join the attack more and provide support for Klotz, Pineiro and Burt.

Freshman Taylor Patterson took those words to heart, and as a result now leads the team with four assists, including two in her last two games.

For Patterson, the biggest transition from the high school and club game has been the physicality of college soccer, but she feels as though she has adjusted her game accordingly.

“It’s a lot more physical,” Patterson said. “I think I’m getting used to it, for sure. It’s different, but I like it, I enjoy it. It makes me play better, I think.”

Schilte-Brown thinks familiarity with her teammates has helped Patterson flourish of late.

“She’s a talented kid, and brings a lot to the table,” Schilte-Brown said. “But her teammates didn’t know what to expect from her, and when the delivery of the ball would come, and when it wouldn’t come, that she likes to take players on, or likes to serve early. It’s knowing, and it’s easy to think if you’re not a soccer player or you haven’t been around the game a lot that you can pick that up in two weeks, but you can’t. It just takes time.”

Colleges: Bulls up to No.3. Spartans drop to No.5 in NSCAA polls

South Florida’s mens soccer team jumped another pair of spots in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division I poll, moving to No.3 in the nation after going 1-0-1 to open Big East play over the weekend.

The Bulls trail only top-ranked Akron (6-0-0) and North Carolina (4-0-1) in the rankings released on Tuesday afternoon.

The University of Tampa, who had held the top spot in the Division II poll, fell to No.5 after a poor performance against West Florida. The Spartans (4-0-1) needed a second-half goal to remain undefeated, and were leap-frogged by four teams, most notably SSC rival Lynn (7-0-0), who now hold the No.2 berth.

The Spartans and Fighting Knights are scheduled to face each other at Pepin-Rood Stadium on October 3.

On the women’s side, Saint Leo remained in the Also Receiving Votes group in the Division II poll. The Lions will get a chance to make their case for a ranking in next week's poll on Wednesday evening as they face No.9 Rollins at 7:30 p.m. at University Field.

Colleges: Anor close to fully fit, honored by Big East

TAMPA – Bernardo Anor’s comeback from a torn ACL appears to be close to complete, and USF’s coaches and players couldn’t be happier.

The redshirt sophomore, who after coming off the bench early in the season recently returned to the Bulls starting lineup, had a goal and an assist over the weekend, and was named to the Big East Conference Honor Roll on Monday.

“I’m happy with myself,” Anor said after Tuesday’s practice. “I am so grateful to all my coaches, who keep me up with everything. They always support me with fitness and to keep working hard.”

Anor leads South Florida with five points (two goals, one assist), and provided the key moment in the Bulls 2-1 win against Notre Dame on Sunday, providing a pin-point cross to Jorge Mora to head home in the 83rd minute.

“He just gets the team going,” Mora said. “He links very well with Francisco (Aristeguieta) and Fernando (Gonzalez) in the middle, and it helps keep the flow of the game going. He is one of those guys who keep the flow of the game.”

Anor is still working on his match-fitness, with Coach George Kiefer still managing his minutes, but Kiefer has been happy with what Anor has been able to accomplish so far.

“I feel like he’s close, but at the same time sometimes he could be playing well, but we still have to manage his minutes,” Kiefer said. “The ball he served to Jorge, a lot of college players just cross that. You watch on film, he got his eyes up, looked and put it on a dime under pressure.”

MORE MORA: Mora also picked up an individual award for his play over the weekend, being named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Kiefer said he was happy that Mora was able to play as well as he did with both of his parents, who were visiting for the weekend, in attendance.

“It’s great,” Kiefer said. “We talk a lot about our team being a family, and to see his dad at the end of the game, he was here, his mom and dad were here this weekend, and for Jorge to get the winner, I felt as though his mom and dad were happy for him, the guys were happy for him.

“Jorge works his tail off, and I watched the goal, that was a world-class goal. At the edge of the six-(yard box) and buried with his head to the opposite post in the side net, I was happy for him, and I think he deserves what he got.”

Mora said that while receiving the honor was nice, he was much happier to have allowed the Bulls to stay undefeated.

“Sure, it’s nice, but it’s not something you give that much importance to, or that I worry about,” Mora said. “It’s more just playing well, how I feel about myself and how I can contribute to the team. As long as we’re winning, that’s what I care about the most.”

ROAD TRIP: The Bulls face a pair of road games this weekend, heading to West Virginia on Friday night before moving on the Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Anor said the team is looking at the trip as an opportunity for another pair of victories.

“We’re looking for two more wins, even though we’re playing on the road,” Anor said. “We are not looking to tie the game, we are always looking for the best, and that’s why we’ve been working hard all this time.”

Kiefer said he was looking forward to the trip to Morgantown, which has one of the best fields in college soccer.

“They have a really nice field, about 80 yards wide,” Kiefer said. “It’s a field the ball moves fast on so I think we’re going into a good environment, they always have a good crowd there. Coach Marlon (LeBlanc) has done a good job of getting his side up to speed, so we’re looking forward to that game.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

Colleges: After trying start, Lions getting on track

SAINT LEO – It was, according to Saint Leo women’s soccer coach Ged O’Connor, the toughest preseason he has been through since joining the Lions as an assistant in 2002.

After having their opening game against Webber International postponed midway through, to having a pair of games postponed due to a number of players contracting H1N1 virus, it has been an understandably challenging time for the Lions.

At its worst, the squad was reduced to only 10 players, including both goalkeepers, attending practice. That meant all O’Connor could do was work on fitness, and keeping players skills sharp.

“We were trying to keep fit, get them touches on the ball,” O’Connor said. “But the problem was while those players were getting fit, the players that were out for five days lost their fitness, and they’ve got to come back again.”

Senior sweeper Ana Davila said with the anticipation of the new season, the nature of the start to the season was frustrating for everyone in the program.

“We saw it as we had a very solid team coming in this year,” Davila said. “To have so many things, one thing after another, three people would be sick here, and then another two people, and another two people, it was really frustrating to have all these games cancelled and things moved around.”

With a squad of 14, including two goalkeepers, the Lions finally got on the field against No.19 Armstrong Atlantic, and earned a 1-1 tie on September 10th. O’Conner said he thought the player’s performance in what had become their regular season opener was phenomenal.

“No-one was anywhere near match-fit,” O’Connor said. “I knew going into it we had to get a couple of goals early … We went up, and then in the second half we needed to slow it down, draw it off a bit, but then they scored with seven minutes left.

“Then, it was gut-check time. I needed to see what they had (in their hearts). And our girls fought, our girls fought right from front to the back. I was very, very proud of their performance.”

“It was a struggle, but everyone pushed through it,” Davila said. “We’re trying to get back into the groove of playing.”

The Lions have posted a pair of wins since then, 3-2 against Robert Morris and 6-0 against Eckerd in their Sunshine State Conference opener. The preseason pick to win the conference, they retake the field on Wednesday against Rollins, who are thought to be the Lions closest rivals for the SSC title. According to forward and returning SSC Player of the Year Hannah Beard, the setbacks the team has suffered haven’t deterred them from their goal for the season.

“I expect to win the conference, and the conference tournament again, and to get further than we’ve gone in regionals,” Beard said. “Being a senior, this is the best team we’ve had.”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Colleges: Mora grabs late winner for lethargic Bulls

TAMPA – A lethargic, plodding display on a sweltering afternoon by No.5 South Florida was salvaged by a beautiful goal with seven minutes to play as Jorge Mora gave the Bulls a 2-1 victory against Big East rival No.21 Notre Dame at the USF Soccer Stadium on Sunday.

Francisco Aristeguieta picked up the ball off a throw-in deep in the left corner of the field. He slipped a pass to Bernardo Anor, who eluded his defender, and sent a perfect cross to the far post, where an unmarked Mora met it with a thumping header into the left corner of the net.

“I just decided to put my head on it and get enough power behind it,” Mora said. “It’s one of those things you picture, you visualize the game the night before, and you hope you’re in a position like that, and I just got lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”

Bulls coach George Kiefer credited Anor with being patient enough to look up and see Mora unmarked at the far post instead of rushing a cross into the penalty area.

“Bernardo is a good player,” Kiefer said. “A lot of college players would have just crossed that ball. He gets his eyes up, sees Jorge and puts it on Jorge’s head.”

South Florida (5-0-1, 1-0-1 Big East) had taken the lead in the fifth minute as Sinclair notched his first goal as a Bull. Ashani Fairclough sent a long ball from inside his own half forward to try and utilize Sinclair’s speed, and the U.S. under-18 forward beat his defender and a advancing goalkeeper to the ball to flick his header into the vacant net.

“Once I got through and I saw the goalie hesitated, I knew I could get to it before him,” Sinclair said.

Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark was disappointed not only at giving up an early goal, but the manner in which it occured.

“It was a fairly simple ball over the top and we got caught sleeping,” Clark said. “It was a very disappointing goal to give away.”

USF had a chance to double its lead less than a minute later as the Bulls broke on a counter-attack, and Sinclair put Anor through on the left, but he had his shot well saved.

After that, though, the heat began to take a toll. With a kickoff temperature in the mid-90s, the game slowed, and with it so did the Bulls movement off the ball, causing poor giveaways in midfield. That allowed Notre Dame (3-3-1, 1-1-0) to come back into the game, but the Irish weren’t incisive in the attacking third of the field before the break, causing USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella very little trouble.

That changed after halftime with the introduction of Irish forward Tamba Samba, who jump-started the Notre Dame offense with his physicality. Samba almost created an equalizer for the Irish in the 52nd minute as he turned his man at the top of the penalty area and played in Steven Perry 15 yards from goal, but Attinella anticipated the pass well, advancing quickly before blocking the shot with his legs.

Notre Dame continued to build pressure as the Bulls seemed content to sit back in defense and try to use its speed on the counter-attack, but that ended up costing USF in the 78th minute as a fine cross from the right by Notre Dame’s Michael Rose was met by Bright Dike, who broke away from his marker to head into the right corner of the net.

“I was proud of the way the team fought back,” Clark said. “I thought we did control large parts of the game, but they always looked dangerous on the break. They have some very fast players.”

The goal seemed to create a sense of urgency for the Bulls, Mora coming close to restoring the Bulls lead when he fired a shot from the top of the penalty area just wide. Sinclair then had a point-blank shot well saved before Mora’s header gave the Bulls victory.

“I’ll take a win, even if we didn’t play as great as we'd like,” Mora said. “We worked hard, and we’re very happy with the result.”

Colleges: Klotz goal gives USF women victory

Chelsea Klotz scored her third goal of the season in the 106th minute to give South Florida a 3-2 double-overtime win against Stetson in Deland on Sunday evening.

Noelle Pineiro created the chance for Klotz, who was rewarded for a highly productive game with the third game-winning-goal of her Bulls career. Klotz had 10 of the Bulls 26 shots for the game, hitting the target five times, as she was a constant threat to the Hatters defense.

Despite their offensive pressure, the Bulls had to fight back from a second-half deficit to get a positive result. Stetson (4-4-0) had taken a 2-1 lead in the 54th minute when Heather Berg scored her second goal of the game after latching onto a through-ball by Kate Bitetto. Berg had earlier converted a penalty kick to make the score 1-1.

Pineiro scored her team-high fifth goal of the season to even the game up in the 73rd minute, taking advantage of an opportunity created for her by Taylor Patterson.

“I'm really proud of the team,” said Bulls head coach Denise Schilte-Brown. “We really dominated for the most part although we had a lapse and let them back into the match but I was impressed by the way we responded.”

The Bulls (3-4-1) had taken the lead in the first half as Chantelle Goodson scored her first goal as a Bull, blasting a shot from 25 yards out that caromed in off the underside of the crossbar.

The Bulls continue their travels on Thursday, as they travel to face Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. looking for their first Big East win of the season. The Panthers drew 1-1 with West Virginia in their Big East opener on Friday before defeating St. Bonaventure 4-0 on Sunday.

Colleges: Tampa women downed by Columbus State

Two goals in three minutes put No.6 Columbus State ahead in the first half, and the University of Tampa women’s soccer team was unable to respond as the host Cougars won 3-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Kara Mundelein opened the scoring in the 38th minute as she converted a penalty kick, and Emily Fifield doubled the less than two minutes later, scoring off an assist by Stephanie Parrish.

After taking No.8 Carson-Newman to overtime on Friday, Tampa (3-4-1) struggled to find any offense against the Cougars, only mustering five shots, only one of which was on target.

Gina Goforth scored the third goal for Columbus State (6-0-1) in the 74th minute as she put home an opportunity created by Mundelein.

The Spartans next travel to No.19 Armstrong Atlantic on Friday, with a second game in Georgia against Georgia College and State slated for next Sunday to close out Tampa’s non-conference schedule.

College Matchday: No.21 Notre Dame at No.5 South Florida

WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m., USF Soccer Stadium

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida will get its toughest test of the season so far as it entertains Big East rival and No.21 Notre Dame.

The Irish will be without a pair of key players, with defender Aaron Maund and midfielder Dillon Powers absent due to international duty. Both are with the U.S. under-20 side that will begin competition in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup next Saturday in Egypt.

Bernardo Anor, who scored his second goal of the season in his first start of the season, appears to be back to full match-fitness 12 months after suffering a torn ACL. The Bulls hold a 3-1-0 record in the series, defeating the Irish 2-1 in the Big East tournament semifinals last season on their way to the Big East title.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

College Women's Matchday: Tampa at No.6 Columbus State

WHEN: Sunday, 1 p.m., Walden Soccer Complex

NEED TO KNOW: Tampa will try to end the weekend on a positive note after it lost 1-0 in double-overtime against No.8 Carson-Newman on Friday evening.

In order to do that, the Spartans will need to play as well as they did against the Eagles. Columbus State (5-0-1) defeated Harding 4-0 on Friday with four different players finding the back of the net. Gina Goforth has scored a team-high four goals for the Cougars so far this season.
The Spartans are led by Jazmin Perry with five goals, and an upset victory would even their record for the four games they have played at Columbus State so far this season. Tampa defeated Chowan 8-0 and lost to Tusculum 3-2 during their first trip to Georgia earlier this season.

College Women's Matchday: South Florida at Stetson

WHEN: Sunday, 4 p.m. DeLand

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida will try to end its first two-game losing streak of the season when it travels to face Stetson. The Bulls (2-4-1) have fallen victim to late goals in each of the two losses, as both Central Florida and Marquette scored in the 89th minute to grab victory.

Stetson (4-3-0) hasn’t played in over a week after its game last Sunday was cancelled due to bad weather. The Hatters did win in their last time out, though, earning a 1-0 win against Jackson State at the Port City Classic in Mobile, Ala.

One positive for the Bulls to come out of their game with Marquette was 2008 leading scorer Chelsea Klotz opening her account for the 2009 season. Sunday’s game is the Bulls final non-conference game, with a trip to Pittsburgh next Thursday next up in the Big East schedule.

Colleges: Lions romp past Tritons

On paper, a trip to Eckerd appeared to be an easy victory for Saint Leo’s womens soccer team in the opening game of its Sunshine State Conference.

In practice, it turned out to be as easy as it appeared. Six different Lions found the back of the net in a 6-0 romp as Malloree Enoch scored a goal and added a pair of assists.

Saint Leo (2-0-1) opened the scoring as Jasmine Johnson scored her first goal of the season in the 20th minute, rifling in a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Dari Alcantara doubled the Lions lead in the 33rd minute. After Chrissy Darwell received a pass at the top of the penalty area, she layed the ball back to Alcantara, who drove a shot from 25 yards into the net.

The Tritons (0-4-1), who went winless in the SSC last season, were powerless to stop the Lions, who finished with a 30-6 shots advantage. Enoch scored her goal 10 minutes into the second half, and then turned provider for Racheal McQuade and Pia Soeseman before Hannah Beard completed the rout with a little over three minutes to go.

The Lions continue SSC play on Wednesday, when they play host to Rollins at 7:30 p.m.

College Women's Matchday: Saint Leo at Eckerd

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m., St. Petersburg

NEED TO KNOW: Saint Leo opens its Sunshine State Conference schedule with what appears on paper to be a potentially easy victory against Eckerd. The Tritons are winless so far this season, and went winless in the SSC a season ago, while the Lions were picked as the preseason favorite to win the conference.

Saint Leo (1-0-1) left it late to grab victory against Robert Morris on Thursday night, Sara Macko’s penalty giving the Lions a 3-2 victory after they had lost a 2-0 half time lead.

The Tritons, on the other hand, fell 4-0 to Embry-Riddle last Sunday in their last game, and have only scored once in four games. Spencer Janicki found the net for the Tritons (0-3-1) in a 1-1 tie against Warner International.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Colleges: Bulls miss late penalty, settle for tie against Marquette

Honors ended even at the USF Soccer Stadium on Friday night, but No.5 South Florida will likely be kicking itself for not adding another victory after a 1-1 draw with Marquette on Friday night.

Javed Mohammed should have give the Bulls (4-0-1) a winning start to their Big East schedule, but he missed a 90th minute penalty, leaving the two sides deadlocked.

Bernardo Anor had given the Bulls the lead in the 30th minute, scoring from a tight angle on the left after being played in by Jorge Mora, and the Bulls would carry that lead to half time.

The Golden Eagles, who entered the game on a three-game losing streak, played up to their highly-ranked opponents, forcing Bulls goalkeeper Jeff Attinella into a number of good saves. They were rewarded for their attacking play in the 57th minute when Adam Lysek banged in the rebound after Amiclar Herrera’s shot had gone off the post.

South Florida also created numerous chances, and freshman Hasani Sinclair had an opportunity to restore the Bulls’ lead in the 76th minute, but was denied by Marquette goalkeeper Matt Pzdrowski.

Neither side created much in the way of opportunities in either overtime period, the Golden Eagles coming closest to snatching victory in the first period when Scott Miller hit the post. Marquette was also reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Billy Von Rueden was sent off for his second yellow card, but the Bulls weren’t able to take advantage.

With the tie, the Bulls extended their home undefeated streak to 21 games, a record that will surely be tested when No.21 Notre Dame visits on Sunday.

“Notre Dame is a good team,” Bulls coach George Kiefer said after Friday’s game. “They’re always good, always well coached, Bobby Clark is a good coach. I know they have a couple of guys with the (U.S.) Under-20 (National team), so it’s a good opportunity for us.”

Colleges: Spartans struggle, tie West Florida

It was, in the words of University of Tampa coach Adrian Bush, an “ugly performance”.

But the No.1-ranked Spartans emerged with a 1-1 tie against No.22 West Florida thanks to Matt Karn’s second half goal from a set piece by Dan Ingvarsson.

Jay Mainville gave the Argonauts (4-1-1) the lead in the 28th minute as he combined with strike-partner Steven Munoz before shooting home. The Argonauts continued to give the Spartans problems, outshooting them 19-8 for the game, but goalkeeper Ryan Maxwell made six saves to keep the Spartans in the game.

That became crucial in the 74th minute, when Tampa (4-0-1) was awarded a free kick in the left corner. Ingvarsson delivered the ball into the penalty area, and Karn rose to head home his first goal for the Spartans.

Tampa was reduced to 10 men in the second overtime period, Zach Fraser being shown a red card, but the Spartans held on for the final four minutes to earn a tie.

“You have to give a lot of credit to West Florida,” Bush said. “They are a fantastic team and one we have a lot of respect for.

“Hopefully this can serve as a wake-up call for our players as we head into SSC play."

The Spartans open Sunshine State Conference play against Barry next Saturday at 7 p.m.

Colleges: Crouse, Sailfish send Lions to defeat

Kyle Crouse scored a pair of goals in the first half as Palm Beach Atlantic made Saint Leo pay for a flat performance with a 3-1 victory at University Field on Friday evening.

Crouse opened the scoring for the Sailfish (4-1-0) in the 15th minute, driving home a shot after being put through by teammate Matt Crumb.

Crouse then seized upon a chance with less than a minute remaining in the half, as a free kick into the Lions penalty area wasn’t properly cleared, allowing Crouse to fire home from close range.

Saint Leo came out more brightly in the second half, with Sailfish goalkeeper Joe Yurchak making good saves from Daniel Asher and Viktor Wiknor to maintain their two-goal advantage.

That advantage was extended to 3-0 when Johnathon Clark struck in the 63rd minute, beating Saint Leo goalkeeper Erik Mozzo from 20 yards with a direct free kick.

Ruud Van Der Saar pulled a goal back for the Lions with 10 minutes to go, but it wasn’t enough as the Sailfish cruised to victory.

Colleges: Tampa women fall in double-overtime

No.8 Carson-Newman’s Trenna Howell scored on a breakaway in the second overtime to deny the University of Tampa a fourth consecutive victory and keep the Eagles undefeated with a 1-0 victory at the Columbus State Invitational on Friday afternoon.

The Spartans (3-3-1) had more than held their own with the Eagles (7-0-0), and had created more chances in the first 15 minutes of the overtime period, Brittan Spence, Katie LaPorta and Jazmin Perry all having shots saved by C-N goalkeeper Lauren MacKenzie in the overtime period before Howell snuck a shot past Saige Steinmetz into the left corner of the net.

The Spartans had the better of the play in regulation as well, outshooting the Eagles 8-4 over the first 90 minutes, but they may be disappointed not to have pressed MacKenzie into more action with only two of their shots hitting the target.

The Spartans will face another ranked opponent in tournament host No.6 Columbus State on Sunday at 1 p.m.

College Matchday: Marquette at No.5 South Florida

WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m. USF Soccer Stadium

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida opens its Big East schedule with a visit from a Marquette squad that has been struggling to find its form so far this season. The Golden Eagles (1-3-0) have only scored once, Callum Mallace finding the net in a season-opening victory against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and have given up seven goals in their last three games, including a 1-0 defeat to No.17 UC Irvine in their last outing.

The Bulls, on the other hand, are the only undefeated side in the Big East after a pair of 1-0 wins against Valparaiso and Virginia Tech last week moved them to 4-0-0 on the season. Shawn Chin scored his first goal of the season last Friday to give the Bulls their third straight 1-0 victory. Jeff Attinella (Countryside) and his defense have been outstanding over that span, Attinella picking up the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week award on Monday.

Currently on a 20-game undefeated streak at home that stretches back to 2007, the one thing the Bulls may need to avoid is complacency. South Florida faces No.21 Notre Dame on Sunday, making Friday night’s game one that the Bulls could potentially overlook.

College Women's Matchday: Tampa vs. No.8 Carson-Newman at Columbus State

WHEN: Friday, 2 p.m., Walden Soccer Complex

NEED TO KNOW: Tampa returns to Columbus State for the second time this season for another pair of games. Currently on a three-game winning streak, the Spartans will face a pair of games against ranked teams, starting with No.8 Carson-Newman.

The Eagles are 6-0-0 this season, one win coming in overtime, have conceded just three goals, and are spreading their scoring around. Five different players have scored three goals, Trenna Howell scoring the only goal of the game in the Eagles 1-0 win against Georgia College in their last outing.

The Spartans got off to a slow start this season, but won two games in two days last weekend. After cruising past West Georgia 4-0 last Saturday, Tampa got a pair of first half goals from Molly Gottlieb, her third of the season, and Brittan Spence in a 2-1 win on the road against Warner International on Sunday.

College Matchday: Palm Beach Atlantic at Saint Leo

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m., University Field

NEED TO KNOW: Saint Leo will look to build on a 3-0 win against Georgia Southwestern last Friday as it faces Palm Beach Atlantic. The Sailfish are winless in their past two, tying St. Thomas 2-2 on Tuesday, after opening the season 3-0.

The Lions (3-1-0) got a hat trick from Jonathan Glenn against the Hurricanes, giving him five goals for the season. Former Freedom High standout Bobby Huertas has also scored four goals in four games, while goalkeeper Erik Mozzo holds a 0.53 goals against average.

The Sailfish (3-1-1), who defeated the Lions 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, are led offensively by Johnathon Clark, Gabriel Carneiro and former Plant City standout Cheyne Roberts. All three have scored three goals apiece. Also on the Sailfish’s roster are former Durant trio Andrew Kanarr, Juan Villagrana and Chance Sumner.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Colleges: Late Macko penalty gives Lions victory

Sara Macko earned and then scored a penalty kick in the 87th minute to lift Saint Leo's womens soccer team to a 3-2 victory against Robert Morris University on Thursday night.

After the Lions had lost an early 2-0 lead, Macko was brought down just inside the penalty area, and stepped up herself to fire her shot into the bottom-right corner of the net. The goal was disallowed, however, after a Lions player encroached into the penalty area before the kick was taken, forcing a re-take.

Macko stepped up again, and calmly shot into the same corner to give the Lions victory.

Saint Leo had taken a 2-0 lead within the first 20 minutes, Malloree Enoch giving the Lions the lead in the fifth minute on a direct free kick that snaked its way through the defensive wall.

Pia Soesemann doubled the Lions lead in the 19th minute, who latched onto a pass from Francesca Williams before she fired a shot that deflected in off the right post.

The Eagles hit back early in the second half, as Karina Munoz flicked a free kick by Anne Meshes past Saint Leo’s Kelcee Mai in the 51st minute. Two minutes later the game was tied, as Meshes fired a direct free kick into the roof of the net from 20 yards out.

Their lead gone, the Lions picked up their play, Dari Alcantara heading over the crossbar and Jasmine Johnson being denied by Robert Morris goalkeeper Jeannette Williams after being put through on goal before Macko’s penalty earned the Lions victory.

Saint Leo next opens Sunshine State Conference play as it travels to Eckerd on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Colleges: Bulls women fall to agonizing defeat

A late goal by Marquette’s Kerry McBride consigned South Florida’s womens soccer team to a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat on Thursday night at Valley Fields, Milwaukee.

With a little over a minute remaining, and overtime beckoning, Becky Ryan’s cross found McBride in the center of the Bulls penalty area. Her looping header found the net, dashing the Bulls' hopes of an opening victory in Big East play.

South Florida had opened the game brightly, Valorie O’Brien and Chelsea Klotz both testing Marquette goalkeeper Natalie Kulla early with shots on target. It was the Golden Eagles, though, who opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Rachel Sloan got the better of a one-on-one and drove home a shot from 20 yards out.

Marquette (6-2, 1-0 Big East) pressed for a second goal before halftime, but the Bulls (2-4-1, 0-1) held the the Golden Eagles off, and then as in the first half came out strongly after the break. That period of play was rewarded in the 63rd minute when Taylor Patterson found Klotz, who scored her first goal of the season to tie the game.

The Bulls continued to create opportunities to try and grab the lead, Rehana Murani and Noelle Pineiro each having their shots saved with a little over 10 minutes to play, but the tactical move by Marquette coach Markus Roeders to re-enter Ryan and McBride in the 83rd minute proved to be pivotal.

The Bulls will look to bounce back from a second-straight late defeat, Central Florida having also used a late goal last Sunday for a 1-0 win, as they face Stetson in DeLand on Sunday afternoon.

Colleges: No.1 Spartans expect tough test from No.22 Argonauts

One week after snatching a late victory against the Savannah College of Art and Design, the No.1-ranked University of Tampa men’s soccer team hits the road for what appears to be one of the toughest tests in its regular season schedule against No.22 West Florida in Pensacola tonight.

While not a conference game for either side, it is a true test of where each side stands ahead of conference play. Both teams reached the NCAA South Region tournament last season.

“Especially the last couple of years, its been a very good contest,” Tampa coach Adrian Bush said. “Two teams that have a lot of respect for each other, and two teams that expect to be in the regional when the bids come out in November.”

The Argonauts have only lost once, a 2-0 defeat against Rollins College last Friday, but rebounded with a 6-1 win against Florida Southern on Sunday. Starting forward Jay Mainville has four goals in five starts, while Stephen Munoz has four goals and four assists predominantly coming off the bench to lead the Argonauts with 12 points.

Add in a strong student following at the UWF Soccer Complex that has made it a tough place to play, and Bush is under no illusions as to what his side will face.

“It’s a very tough place to play,” Bush said. “They get a good crowd, they get a lot of support, and they’re well organized, a strong team.”

After only earning victory in the final 30 seconds against Savannah, Bush is hoping to see a more consistent and energized effort from the Spartans. With a week of training devoted solely to how he wants his side to play, and emphasizing what a victory could mean in the long-term, Bush is expecting his side to raise its game.

“Our pregame focus is to be better as a team,” Bush said. “I think outside of the Clayton State game, this is one game that I think the guys know how important it is. I’m anxious to see them really perform, because this game is very meaningful. It’s not a conference game, but it’s a huge region game.”

College Women's Matchday: South Florida at Marquette

WHEN: Thursday, 8 p.m. Valley Fields.

NEED TO KNOW: South Florida opens its Big East schedule on the road against a Marquette squad that has traditionally given them trouble. The Golden Eagles (5-2) lead the series 10-2-1 all-time, including a 3-1 record in the past four seasons. The game will be the fifth consecutive time the two sides have opened their Big East schedule against each other, but the Bulls (2-3-1) enter the game confident they can cause problems.

Noelle Pineiro has already scored as many goals, four, in six games as the Bulls leading scorer last season Chelsea Klotz did all season. Marquette, though, has been solid defensively so far this season, with goalkeeper Natalie Kulla holding a 0.42 goals against average entering the game. The Golden Eagles currently hold a six-game shutout streak at home.

Offensively, the Golden Eagles have spread the scoring around, with Becky Ryan and Lindsay Page tied for the scoring lead with two goals apiece. Five other Marquette players have also found the net.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Colleges: Bulls eager to maintain home record

TAMPA – Over the past two seasons, South Florida’s mens soccer team has made their home turf at the USF Soccer Stadium one of the toughest places to play in college soccer. In fact, it’s been almost two years since the Bulls last lost at home, a 2-1 loss to then No.2 Connecticut on September 21, 2007.

Since then, the Bulls have gone on a 20-game undefeated streak at home, a run they hope to continue when they face Marquette on Friday night.

“We don’t want to lose here,” goalkeeper Jeff Attinella said. “This is our field, no-one wants to get beat on their home field, and we take great pride in trying to play our best here. We try to play our best everywhere, but especially at home, we want to do as well as we can here.”

Until it was mentioned to him on Wednesday, though, Bulls coach George Kiefer said he hadn’t been aware of the run the Bulls had been on.

“You’re the second guy today to talk to me about a home record,” Kiefer said. ”I wasn’t aware of it, and to us, it’s the Marquette game, that’s the focus.”

SAFE HANDS: Attinella was pleased to have been named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week and to the national college team of the week, but was quick to pay tribute to his back four who he believes are just as worthy of recognition.

“It’s pretty cool,” Attinella said. “I think it’s really a big credit to our defense, honestly. Our defense has really played well the past three games, and that’s a big reason why we’ve been getting shutouts.”

Attinella only had to make five saves in a pair of shutouts against Valparaiso and Virginia Tech.

“It’s definitely a team award,” Attinella said. “Against Virginia Tech we faced 19 corners, and we were able to keep them out of the net, so that’s a huge team effort there, a big credit to everybody.”

CHAMPIONS LESSONS: If you’re looking for Kiefer, or many of his players, on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon in the upcoming months, you’ll probably find them in front of a television.

That’s because most of them will be tuned into the UEFA Champions League games on Fox Soccer Channel or FSN Florida.

“They follow it like you wouldn’t believe,” Kiefer said. “I’m constantly recording games, I love it. Just the environment of each game and the speed of it, it’s exciting to watch.”

Kiefer adds that he and his players learn from watching games, and the Champions League allows him to use high-profile teams and players to illustrate points he makes when out on the practice field.

“You can paint a picture, ‘watch this game, and watch guys on Chelsea make mistakes’,” Kiefer said. “Sometimes as a college player, you make mistakes, you put your head down. We’re all going to make errors on the field, so watch a guy getting paid $10 million make a mistake and watch how he reacts to it. If a guy making $10 million makes a mistake, I think you can make a mistake. The game is quick and there’s no time to put your head down or think about the last play.”