USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - An us against the world mentality has served the Bulls well this men's soccer season.
Underestimated by national polls, USF has risen to the occasion against highly touted teams to go 7-1 against ranked opponents on the way to a stellar 13-3-3 record. Among the signature wins, USF beat then-No. 10 Louisville, No. 14 Wake Forest, No. 16 West Virginia and No. 25 FGCU on the road, while staying at home to defeat No. 6 UC Irvine, No. 8 St. John's and UCF, which was nationally ranked for most of the season.
No. 8 seed UC Irvine, No. 9 seed St. John's, No. 12 seed Louisville, Wake Forest, West Virginia, FGCU and UCF all made it to the NCAA Tournament teams this year.
"I feel like there is a little bit of a lack of respect for the type of group that we have," head coach George Kiefer said. "I think the team resents that."
The Bulls haven't won those games by slim margins either. They've outscored ranked opponents, 17-7, and have three shutouts to their credit against Wake Forest, UC Irvine and FGCU.
The seventh-seeded Bulls get to host No. 1 New Mexico (18-0-3) 6 p.m. Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
USF embraces the task and has another chance to make doubters think again when they consider how good the Bulls can be.
"It's a new challenge," Dwyer said. "They're the only undefeated team left in the country."
Sunday's game is free for fans thanks to the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and the Bulls expect another packed house as they try to do something no other team has against the Lobos this season.