TAMPA, Fla. – USF men’s soccer showed the mental toughness it takes to accomplish great things Monday morning.
Goals from Brandon Riley and Kendan Anderson helped the Bulls get past No. 3 Georgetown, 2-0, in front of their dedicated fans at Corbett Stadium. The victory marked USF’s first over a top-10 team since 2011 and the Bulls’ fourth win over a third-ranked team in head coach George Kiefer’s tenure with the program.
USF’s last victory over a No. 3 team in the nation came on Nov. 16, 2008 against St. John’s and the Bulls had to wait awhile to put the latest upset in the books. USF-Georgetown was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, but inclement weather caused by the remnants of Hurricane Erika postponed the action until 9:30 a.m. Monday.
“It was worth the wait. You give Georgetown credit, a lot of teams would have said, ‘OK, we don’t play,’ and not stick around,” Kiefer said. “We both wanted the game and that’s why they’re as good as they are. They don’t run from anybody.”
USF [2-0] pulled ahead of the Hoyas [0-1-1] in the 28thminute, when Riley headed home a corner kick from Lindo Mfeka for his first-career goal.
“Every practice before the game we work on set pieces out here, so it’s good to see our work pays off,” said Riley, a senior defender from Orlando.
USF finished with a 15-9 shot advantage, 9-2 in the first half, and the Bulls kept applying the pressure after the break. Anderson, a junior forward from Jamaica, got a pass from Atsou Ayah and padded the lead from about 12 yards out with his first-career goal in the 78th minute.
USF started the season with a 2-0 win over Missouri State on Aug. 28 and the defense continued its stellar start. Junior Spasoje Stefanovic, The American’s Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014, only had to make one save in his eighth career shutout.
“It always starts with good defending and to have two shutouts in a row is important,” Kiefer said.
Beating a third-ranked team is never easy and Kiefer was impressed with the Bulls’ ability to stay locked in. Officials waited until nearly 10 p.m. Sunday to postpone the game, but the Bulls were up to the task bright and early Monday morning.
“When you really have a good meaning as to why you play, then these little distractions are not anything,” Kiefer said. “I thought they were clearly extremely focused for the entire match.”
USF looks for more victories over ranked teams during a two-game road trip this weekend. The Bulls begin their Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament run with a test at No. 4 Notre Dame on Friday at 7:30 p.m. USF then faces off against No. 14 Indiana on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.