By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
The USF women's soccer team rocked through the preseason and is ready for the real thing at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
The Bulls kick off their regular season Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they host in-state rival UCF. Fans can get season tickets for as low as 25 dollars a seat at GoUSFBulls.com or by calling 1-800-GoBulls, or can purchase individual game tickets online at Ticketmaster.com.
Head coach Denise Schilte-Brown's crew tuned up for a much anticipated 2012 campaign by gaining confidence at home in two exhibitions. USF started off with a 3-2 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Aug. 8 and gave fans a taste of the dramatics during a 1-0 win over Jacksonville on Aug. 10.
"It was a great warm-up against good opponents," Schilte-Brown said. "It was a good opportunity to see players in new positions and to see connections on the field. I'm excited about the results because it's nice to have that momentum going into the season."
Sharla Passariello gave the Bulls a big push in the right direction by scoring three times in the exhibition tests to equal her entire 2011 goal total. The junior forward put in a game-winning header with only 2:10 remaining in regulation against FGCU and came up with more heroics against Jacksonville when she broke up a tie in the final four minutes of play.
The main ingredient to USF's recipe for success was the team's ability to play together, a trend that's continued since spring workouts.
"We had great results, great attitude, great work rate and we haven't changed a lot from the spring," Schilte-Brown said.
USF's close bond became even stronger this preseason when a group of Navy Seals spent a day with the Bulls on campus and put them through a workout that certainly won't be forgotten.
"I think it was probably the best thing that I've ever done with a team in preseason. We really gelled and came together," Schilte-Brown said. "It's probably one of my best teams in 15 years in terms of chemistry and coming together."
Schilte-Brown said her main focus for USF's season opener is seeing how the Bulls work together for a long period of time against a talented UCF team that made a trip to the Elite Eight and finished with a No. 12 ranking nationally.
"I really want to see the game management," Schilte-Brown said. "It's a really big deal how they manage that first five minutes of the game, and how they manage the middle and the end of the game."
Find out how the Bulls fare throughout their 2012 run by purchasing season tickets HERE.