MSOC: No. 12 USF takes ‘Nova

Andrew Gordon

Heading into Senior Day following an upset of the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals, the men’s soccer team hoped to continue the trend by upending the No. 12 South Florida Bulls on Oct. 24. Despite a strong offensive effort, the ‘Cats could not come back from an early one-goal deficit and lost 1-0.

This was the fourth meeting between the Bulls and ‘Cats all time. The last meeting resulted in a 3-0 shutout of Villanova at the USF Soccer Complex last October.

Villanova opened the game with a potent attack, including multiple major scoring attempts in the first few minutes. Senior midfielder Joe Taylor had a great opportunity just 24 seconds into the match but was spoiled by Bulls’ sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who boasted seven saves throughout the afternoon. South Florida responded to the Wildcat pressure in the sixth minute, as senior Yohance Marshall capitalized by touching in a well-aimed Bulls’ corner kick. This was a consequential goal. Despite a ferocious offensive assault, the ‘Cats could not counter the early strike from the visitors.

To finish the first half, Villanova maintained an extended assault in Bulls’ territory to apply lengthy heat on Attinella, who turned away multiple solid shots, including a scoring opportunity from freshman Anthony Yeboah. The second half began as the first had ended, with a zealous onslaught from the Wildcat offense. Two Villanova headers were pushed aside by the South Florida keeper. There was a close call late in the game on the Bulls’ end from freshman Kevin Garcia, but once again Attinella prevented the goal.

Prior to the game, the Wildcat seniors were honored for their efforts on the field throughout their collegiate careers. The seniors stepped up on their day, as midfielders Taylor and Farris Fakhoury each tallied four shots on goal. Danny DeMasters added three more, while fellow seniors Miles Harrison and Adam Brazitis marked one shot each on goal for the Wildcats.

Villanova’s senior leadership kept their spirits and intensity high throughout the match, despite the absence of crucial scoring threat Mike Seamon due to a sprained ankle. This junior has been an integral part of the team, as he leads or ties the Wildcats in every scoring category. His absence has caused Villanova to revamp its offensive schemes and find new, go-to players to add a scoring punch.

The Wildcats played Syracuse yesterday afternoon and will travel to Chicago to face DePaul on Saturday.