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 CollegeSoccer360.com 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.”