By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Weather finally didn’t prevent the University of South Florida’s women’s soccer team from taking full advantage of a game situation in its swanky, new on-campus stadium Tuesday.
USF got a chance to play a complete intersquad game under the hot mid-afternoon sun and its white team earned a 3-2 win over the green team, powered by second-half goals by Marsha Harper and Lauriell Young.
The match-up served as prime preparation for USF’s season opener 7 p.m. Friday at UCF that will be televised by the Bright House Sports Network.
“Going into UCF we really wanted to get a 90-minute game and I thought the girls handled it well,” fifth-year USF head coach Denise Schilte-Brown said.
Weather hasn’t been so cooperative this preseason for USF.
The Bulls held 1-0 advantages in exhibition road tests against Florida Gulf Coast University and Clemson before bad weather conditions caused the teams to finish up early.
USF got to showcase its talent on a dry surface Tuesday and there was no shortage of goals.
Redshirt freshman Anne Vikre got the scoring started for the green team with an assist by junior Taylor Patterson. The white team evened the score at 1 before halftime on a goal by sophomore Sharla Passariello that was assisted by senior Chelsea Klotz.
The white team grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the second half when Harper found the net after a double-assist by Passariello and junior Kayla Bala.
The green team tied things up with a goal by freshman Alexa Hosey that was assisted by sophomore Kendall Narum.
The game-winner belonged to Young on an assist from Bala.
Scoring aside, Schilte-Brown liked what she saw as a whole from a 35-person roster packed with talent.
“I really am happy with the depth because if you look at both teams playing as well as they did, you know that when you select the few that are going to start, you are strong off the bench,” she said. “I think that is a real benefit that we learned today.”
After facing UCF on Friday, the Bulls open up their stadium in style against Indiana on Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at GoUSFBulls.com.
“It’s going to be tough for teams to come here and play with an atmosphere like this that just kind of shouts, ‘You’re at a visiting school,’ and have to play on this size pitch,” Schilte-Brown said. “I really feel like it’s going to be a big advantage for us.”
USF’s stadium provides teams with the luxury of playing on a spacey 120- by 80-foot surface. Surrounding the action are almost 1,000 assigned seats and a grass berm that can hold more than 1,000 fans.
“From a recruiting standpoint, girls are going to come here and want to be a part of this and just sink their teeth into what’s going on at USF and say, ‘Oh, I want to play in that stadium,’ especially when they see the product that’s out there,” Schilte-Brown said.
[ Tom Zebold can be reached at email@example.com or 813-974-4092. ]