Oct. 11, 2009

Courtesy of South Florida

TAMPA (October 10, 2009) – Coming into tonight’s men’s soccer game between the University of South Florida and St. John’s University, the two schools have battled to four one-goal decisions in its last five games and to five in the seven-game series. The last of those one-goal games came last year when USF pulled out a thrilling 1-0 overtime win over the Red Storm at the USF Soccer Stadium in the championship game of the BIG EAST Tournament. So there was no reason to believe that tonight’s game would be any different.

Well both sides didn’t disappoint, although neither team came out on top, in a hard-fought 1-1 double overtime tie in front of a season-high crowd of 1,678 on the Bulls home turf.

St. John’s (3-2-6, 2-1-4 BIG EAST), who has seemed to make a getting a tie an art form, came out in the first half and tried to force the tempo of the game, while also attempting to force USF into early mistakes.

The Red Storm looked to strike early when – after they were awarded a corner kick – Adam Himeno took a shot that was blocked only to have the rebound come to Sverre Wegge Gundhus and fired a shot at the Bulls’ goalkeeper Jeff Attinella who made the first of his nine saves on the night in the 37th minute.

After the game settled down, USF (7-2-2, 3-2-2 BIG EAST) would find a way to strike first, and did it in highlight film fashion.

Ogi Perucica, who would play a pass from Attinella, dribbled in on goal and lofted the ball over St. John’s goalkeeper Derby Carillo’s head. The ball would bounce off the cross bar and find its way to Zak Boggs who, while standing at the bottom left corner of the goal, would take the only shot he had, a bicycle kick with the left foot sending the ball to the far right bottom corner of the net and over the goal line giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute of play.

St. John’s would look to get the goal back getting two shots off in the final 1:30 of the first half, however the tough USF defense stood firm.

After Bernardo Anor put a shot on goal in the 47th minute for the Bulls, and Walter Hines got one off almost three minutes later – each resulting in a save by the other team’s respective goalkeepers – the Red Storm knotted the game at 1-1 when the Himeno found a loose ball, off a free kick from Wegge Gundhus, right in front of USF’s goal and knocked it in, in the 61st minute.  

The action would pick up considerably after the Red Storm goal as the Bulls would fire off six of their 19 shots on the night in the final 27 minutes of regulation.

The most active time during that stretch came in a two-minute span – from the 65th minute to the 67th minute – when Hasani Sinclair, Jorge Mora, Francisco Aristeguieta and Shawn Chin all got shots off but could not find the back of the net.

Javed Mohammed would get an attempt in the 79th minute and Bernardo Anor would get a chance in the 86th minute, however the Bulls could not break through and headed into its fourth overtime of the season.

USF came out in the first extra session and held St. John’s without a shot, while it got off three of its own. The biggest of the three came two minutes in when Perucica beat a Red Storm defender to the ball about 16 yards out from the goal on the left side of the box. Carillo came out to make a play but Perucica fired a shot at the open net wide.

The Red Storm had their opportunity, and seemingly stunned the crown – despite not getting a shot in the overtime – when Bjorn de Hoop found the ball in front of the Bulls’ net and knocked it in, only to be called for offside in the 97th minute.

St. John’s would get one more chance on a corner kick in the 99th minute of play however Attinella came out of the goal and made a big play on the ball in traffic to end the first overtime.

Neither team would get much of an opportunity in the second overtime with the contest ending in a dead-lock.

On the night, the Bulls held a slight advantage in shots, 19-17. The Red Storm had eight corner kicks to USF’s four.

The Bulls will return home on Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. to face in-state foe Florida Atlantic.

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.