By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The Bulls picked a great time to turn the corner and fire up a finish to remember Sunday afternoon.
Valorie O’Brien forced a tie with only 3:14 remaining in regulation and Taylor Patterson quickly put the finishing touches on the USF women’s soccer teams’ 2-1 overtime victory over Jacksonville.
“I feel like the second half of this game and going into overtime has kind of made a turning point for us,” head coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. “We’re really coming around the corner here and getting confidence in our ability to find the back of the net.”
Jacksonville went ahead in the 45th minute on an unassisted goal from Raquel Weckhurst and USF spent nearly 41 minutes trying to break through. The Bulls ended up outshooting the Dolphins, 24-5, and had many close calls near the net before the equalizer.
“We’ve been taking a lot of chances and had a lot of looks on goal and they hadn’t been going our way,” Schilte-Brown said.
The Bulls’ luck changed for the better when O’Brien received a solid corner kick from Molly Stack and headed in her first goal of the season.
“We’ve been working on set pieces a lot, and to actually get one to tie the game was an excellent job,” Patterson said.
Patterson capped off the victory 1 minute, 22 seconds into the first overtime period on an assist from Sarah Miller and Chelsea Klotz. Patterson got the ball in the middle of the box while being heavily covered by defenders and fired it into the right set of the net to help the Bulls improve to 4-2-1.
“I ran in, hoped for the best and got a goal out of it,” Patterson said.
USF won both of its games this weekend and carries some confidence into Big East play, which begins at home 7:30 p.m. Thursday against West Virginia.
“Our momentum is going in the right direction now,” Patterson said.