Jorge Mora and Sebastian Thuriere each found the net as No.13 South Florida moved into the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament with a 2-1 victory against Marquette at the USF Soccer Stadium on Thursday night.
The Bull opened brightly, using high pressure to force Marquette into mistakes, and that led to early opportunities for Hasani Sinclair and Zak Boggs, both of whom were denied by Golden Eagles goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski. The Bulls pressure finally told when Mora gave them the lead in the 15th minute, driving his left-footed shot home from 13 yards after picking up a pass from Sinclair.
“It felt good as soon as I hit it,” Mora said. “It was just a question of whether the goalie was going to get to it. It was pretty exciting.”
The Bulls controlled the bulk of play in the first half, and had other chances to extend their lead before the break as Mora turned creator for Sinclair, only for the striker to shoot wide.
Marquette opened the second half better, but was unable to tie the game, and Thuriere gave the Bulls a two-goal cushion in the 77th minute as he headed home from Javed Mohammed’s cross from the left. The goal proved important as Adam Lysak pulled a goal back for the Golden Eagles three minutes later, but the Bulls held on for victory.
“We were a little disappointed to give up the goal,” Bulls coach George Kiefer said, “but I didn’t see the team get too low, and I think we created a couple more chances after that.”
The Bulls will now face Notre Dame in the tournament quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls defeated the Fighting Irish 2-1 earlier this season, Mora’s header with seven minutes to go off a cross by Bernado Anor giving the Bulls’ victory in that contest.
“Notre Dame is a good team, and Bobby Clark is a very good coach so it’s going to be a fun game for us,” Kiefer said.