Two Tough Tests Await Resilient Bulls in Ohio
WHAT: University of Akron Tournament
WHERE: Akron, Ohio
USF SCHEDULE: Friday against Butler, 4:30 p.m.; Sunday against No. 9 Akron, 7 p.m.
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The battle-tested Bulls now know how to bounce back up after getting knocked down.
The No. 11 USF men's soccer team was dealt its first loss of the season last week and rebounded two days later when the Bulls erased a halftime deficit and rallied past Iona, 2-1, at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
"We were put under that pressure and we handled it pretty well. Like coach (George) Kiefer said, I don't think many teams can do that. We fought back and got the win," sophomore midfielder Wesley Charpie said.
Knowing how to handle that kind of adversity will help USF (4-1) against tough competition this weekend at the University of Akron Tournament in Ohio. The Bulls start off with Butler on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and get No. 9 Akron on Sunday night at 7.
"Once we conclude next weekend, that's seven very good matches that prepare us well to start the Big East," Kiefer said. "We're pleased with how things are going right now."
Charpie said the loss to South Carolina served as a "gut check that puts you back into reality," and the reality looked pretty harsh when USF stared down a 1-0 halftime deficit on Saturday. Powered by a Leston Paul pep talk, the Bulls answered with goals by Paul and Sebastien Thuriere to regain their footing before a pivotal stretch of games.
After this weekend's action, USF is back at Corbett Soccer Stadium to host Providence on Saturday, Sept. 22 in the Big East opener.
"Being 4-1 with the schedule we have, I think puts us in a good position going into the fourth week," Kiefer said.