Bulls trample Cougars at home in conference play
The Cougars finished out their two-game home stand, falling to the second place USF Bulls (9-3-0 overall, 5-1 in conference play) in a game that saw the Cougars lose 4-0. With this third straight loss, the Cougars fall to 5-6-1 overall and 1-3-0 in conference play.
The Cougars came into the game expecting a challenge after losing to first-place UCF. Though the final score reflects an absolute thrashing by the Bulls, the stats tell a completely different story.
At the final whistle, the Cougars only had three less shots than USF with 24 shots to 21 shots. They had the same amount of saves (7) and more corners than USF with five for UH and two for USF.
The Cougars started quick and pushed the ball effectively, but USF found ways to exploit their weaknesses. Unlike previous games from the season, the Cougars were able to defend those challenges and make sure the Bulls didn’t capitalize on chances they had. After 15 minutes, the Cougars were able to figure out USF and push more numbers forward.
A lapse in focus by the Cougars’ backline created an opportunity for USF. A pass from USF’s half found Evelyn Viens who was onside and far past the backline. She was easily able to slot it past Godfrey for the first goal of the game.
Again, the Cougars regained their earlier pressing ability and found a way to keep USF in check while also putting pressure on the USF defense. In the 39th minute, UH won a penalty after a shoddy challenge in the box by USF. Senior midfielder Hannah Dauzat took the penalty with a shot to the right, but it was saved.
After the penalty attempt, USF was able to capitalize. The Cougars were caught in a 2-on-1 situation in the 42nd minute, when freshman goalkeeper Kate Godfrey rushed to challenge for the ball. USFs’ Hannah Seybold was able to chip the ball from a few yards outside the right corner of the box and into the goal.
The Cougars went into halftime down 0-2, even though they had played relatively well. The Cougars had nine shots to the Bulls’ eight, an equal amount of saves (2) and two corners each.
Head coach Diego Bocanegra made the tactical decision to bring on senior goalkeeper Kaitlin Sterner. The Cougars started off the second half strong, but so did USF. Both teams pushed forward well and were able to find weaknesses in the other side.
After the Cougars won a corner in the 56th minute, all the Cougars came into USF’s half. That turned out to be a mistake. As so many were pushed forward, a lone USF attacker was able to stay onside.
When USF subsequently got the ball and passed it up, the attacker was easily able to break free. USF freshman forward Evelyne Viens was easily able to slot a shot past Sterner and score her second goal of the afternoon.
The Cougars stayed in the game, continuously putting pressure on the USF backline and taking a lot of shots, while keeping USF at bay, but another lack of concentration punished the Cougars.
USF took a free kick, and after hitting a USF player and causing some confusion, USF’s’ freshman forward Aubrey Megrath was able to score from one yard out in the 72nd minute.
The game ended with the Cougars falling 4-0 because of mental mistakes and a lack of concentration. This is the second consecutive shutout against the Cougars.