Sept. 17, 2010

Courtesy of USF

TAMPA, FL. - The University of South Florida men's soccer team had its three-match shutout streak snapped this afternoon, however, that was a small price to pay for the Bulls as USF handed No. 9 Ohio State its first loss of the season, 2-1, this afternoon at the Embassy Suites Kickoff Classic at Florida Gulf Coast University. The Bulls did extend their winning streak to three matches while improving their record to 3-1-1.

USF made a statement nationally today about its depth as the Bulls got key contributions and major minutes off the bench in the win over the Buckeyes. Of the seven players that saw time off the bench against Ohio State, three played 39 or more minutes and two logged 22 minutes apiece.  

"We used a lot of players that came off the bench and gave us some great minutes tonight," said USF head coach Kiefer. "I think that says something when the depth of your team can help you win games. I mean we had great efforts off the bench from veterans like Santi Alexis, Kevin Olali, in addition to some of the younger players like Ashani Fairclough and our freshmen that are getting quality experience against great competition."

The Bulls struck quickly on just its second shot of the game - and even before the Buckeyes got a shot off in the contest - when Shawn Chin put the ball in the upper left corner of the goal from the top corner of the 18-yard box - off assists from Hasani Sinclair and Bernardo Anor - giving USF a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute of play.

After not getting a shot on net in the first 11 minutes of play, the Buckeyes would finally get in gear and put pressure on the Bulls getting five shots off in just under a six minute stretch from the 12th minute to the 18 minute mark, however, the USF defense would account for three blocks on the five attempts.

Ohio State (4-1-0) would finally get past the Bulls' defense and get on the board when Chris Hegngi took a rebound off the post from a missed Omar Vallejo shot and put it past USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella 18:38 into the contest. The goal would be the first scored against the Bulls since the season opener against Florida Gulf Coast on Sept. 1, a span of 318 straight minutes without being scored against.

After both schools went into the intermission deadlocked at one goal apiece, USF would come out in the second half and outshoot the Buckeyes 6-5, while stepping up on both ends of the field. To that fact, much of the Bulls' offensive attack in the second 45 minutes of play came off of their tough defensive pressure, subscribing to the theory that the best offense comes from a good defense.

"In the first half we were a bit soft in some key areas with our passing which allowed Ohio State to keep the ball more and in turn made us defend more; that wore our legs out a bit," said Kiefer. "But then we made some adjustments at halftime, our players responded well getting aggressive and speeding up the game against Ohio State. That was big for us in the second half."

Much like the Buckeyes flurry of shots during that six minute stretch in the first half, USF had the opportunity to put Ohio State back on its heels in the beginning of the second half off that stingy defensive strategy. The Bulls had four quality opportunities during a 12 minute span from the 48 minute mark to the 60 minute mark, however could not get past Ohio State net minder Matt Lampson.

USF would finally break through when Anor gave the Bulls the lead for good netting his first game winner of the season beating Lampson, in the 82nd minute.

USF would lock up the Buckeyes defensively in the last eight minutes only allowing one shot en route to the win.

"I think the guys played very well tonight," said Kiefer. "I think we started the game extremely fast when Shawn Chin scored an exceptional goal - one of the best goals I've seen in a while - and then Ohio State got on top of us a little bit and kept us on our toes. But in the second half I think that we took everything away from them. I don't think that they had too many options or to many chances. We stepped our pressure up and got more aggressive and I think that was a major key factor in the win."