Sept. 26, 2009

Courtesy of South Florida

TAMPA - The University of South Florida men's soccer team dropped its first game of the season on Friday night with a tough 1-0 overtime loss to West Virginia at the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown.

USF's record drops to 5-1-1 (1-1-1 BIG EAST) while the Mountaineers improve to 3-2-2 (2-1-0 BIG EAST).

After 90 minutes of scoreless, but good, defensive soccer, it would only take just 72 seconds for West Virginia to hand USF its first loss of the season. After the Bulls attempted to clear the ball out of their defensive third of the field unsuccessfully, the ball would find its way back into the box, off a pass from Alex Silva, where Abel Sebele knocked it by a sliding Jeff Attinella for the win.

The Bulls came out as the aggressor to start the game in the opening minutes of the contest however it was West Virginia that had the first big chance of the game. After USF turned the ball over 30 yards out from its goal, the Mountaineers were fouled and awarded a free kick from about 20 yards out. Sebele would take the attempt bending it left around the Bulls' wall, and on net, only to be saved by USF goalkeeper Jeff Attinella just eight minutes into the contest.

Attinella would be tested again two more times in the first stanza in a two-minute stretch but came up with key saves. The first came on a shot by Moeryhan Doue in the 17th minute, the next in the 19th minute on a shot by Uwem Etuk.

The Bulls would get their first opportunity of the game in the 35th minute when Hasani Sinclair played the ball inside the 18-yard box had a shot, however it was blocked.

Sinclair would have another chance in the 41st minute on an attempt that went just wide.

Neither team, however, would be able to score, ending the first 45 minutes of the game in a 0-0 tie entering the intermission.

Attinella came up big in the beginning of the second half when Ryan Gillespie sent the ball in on net to Doue who would attempt a header just four yards out. Attinella would cut down the angle, deflecting the ball over the end line.

After nearly 20 minutes of back-and-forth play, Zak Boggs, a native of Vienna, W.Va., looked to be the spoiler against his old in-state team. Boggs would play the ball from midfield, driving towards the goal, slicing between Mountaineer defenders, and firing a shot towards the net that would go just high in the 68th minute.

West Virginia would have one last opportunity in regulation when Doue would drive the ball down the left side of the field and fire a shot that was heading for the right lower corner of the goal, only to have Attinella make a thrilling diving save as time expired in regulation.

USF, however, could not hold on as Sebele would hit the game-winner just 1:12 later.

Attinella would finish the game with five saves on six shots on goal.

The Bulls will close out their two-game road trip on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 1 p.m. when they head to the "Steel City" to battle Pittsburgh. USF will home on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. when it butts heads with Cincinnati.