South Florida Hands No. 21 Notre Dame 2-1 Loss
Sept. 20, 2009
TAMPA (September 20, 2009) - The University of South Florida men's soccer team recovered from a tough double overtime tie on Friday night against Marquette to register its first win over a Top 25 team this season - and its first BIG EAST win of the year - with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Notre Dame Sunday at the USF Soccer Stadium.
The win improves the Bulls, who are ranked No. 5 and No. 9 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Soccer America Top 25 polls, respectively, to 5-0-1 (1-0-1 BIG EAST) on the year. In addition, USF extends its home unbeaten streak to 22 games (19-0-3) dating back to Sept. 23, 2007.
The Fighting Irish, ranked No. 21 in the NSCAA poll and No. 23 in the Soccer America rankings, fall to 3-3-1 (1-1-0 BIG EAST) on the year.
The Bulls looked like Friday night's 110 minutes of soccer didn't have any effect on them as they took control early. Hasani Sinclair scored his first collegiate goal - in highlight reel fashion - after taking an arching pass from Ashani Fairclough, from just inside the midfield stripe and, after a high bounce that Notre Dame goalkeeper Andrew Quinn came out for, jumped over the keeper and headed the ball into the back of the net to give USF a 1-0 lead just under five minutes into the contest.
From that point on in the first stanza the Bulls would lock the Fighting Irish up on the offensive end with their stifling defense. Despite Notre Dame outshooting USF 7-4 in the first 45 minutes, it never had any good chances at scoring. In addition, the Fighting Irish also seemed to be battling Tampa's considerable heat and humidity looking like they were always a step behind the Bulls to the ball.
Notre Dame didn't get its first real opportunity until the 51st minute when Steven Perry had a point-blank shot from right in front of the USF goal, only to have Bulls keeper Jeff Attinella came out to make a sliding kick save to preserve the lead. The Fighting Irish, however, did seem to get the spark that they needed off that opportunity for the remaining 39 minutes of the contest.
Notre Dame would eventually break through when Michael Rose crossed the ball into the box to a streaking Bright Dike for a diving header tying the game at 1-1 in the 77th minute.
The Bulls, however, would turn up the heat on their own following the Dike's goal. Jorge Mora would get a shot off that missed just wide in the 78th minute, and then Sinclair made a bid for his second goal of the game however Fighting Irish reserves goalkeeper Phillip Tuttle, would come out to make a last second save.
But Mora would get another chance, on his second of two shots of the game, when Bernardo Anor crossed the ball into the middle for the Queens, N.Y. native to head past Tuttle for the game winner in the 83rd minute.
USF would only allow one shot over the remaining six minutes en route to its fifth one-goal win of the season.
In goal for the Bulls, Attinella recorded six saves on seven shots on goal. Tuttle made three saves in his 83:02 of action after replacing Quinn who left just seven minutes into the contest due to an undisclosed injury.
The Bulls will now hit the road for three of its next four games beginning on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. when they travel to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers. USF will then take on Pittsburgh in the "Steel City" on Sept. 27. The Bulls will return home on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. when they butt heads with Cincinnati.
Season tickets for USF men's soccer games are $40 for adults and $20 for youths and senior citizens. Adult individual match tickets are $6, while youth and senior citizen admission is $3. All groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2.50 per ticket. All USF students will be admitted at no cost when they display their student ID.