TAMPA – The Bulls were unable to pull out a win in their regular season debut, Friday.
USF dropped its rematch of last season’s opener against No. 12 Central Florida, 3-1, on Friday night. The Bulls lost, 5-1, to the Knights last year.
“I felt like we settled for defending,” said head coach Denise Schilte-Brown.
UCF sophomore Jennifer Martin converted on a penalty kick to give the Knights an early 1-0 advantage in the opening half.
Central Florida extended its lead, 2-0, in the second half on a goal by Taylor Townsend with 30 minutes remaining in the match.
The Bulls came out in the second half and got on the board on a free kick to avoid the shutout.
“I think after halftime it was a completely different team that came out,” said Schilte-Brown. “I thought they were very aggressive. I think we were dictating the pace of the game and creating opportunities.”
Marsha Harper scored on a header delivered by Sharla Passariello to cut the Bulls deficit to 2-1. Harper’s goal matches her total from the 2011 season.
“I think Marsha is a deadly weapon in the air and we had a good opportunity to get back in the game,” said Schilte-Brown.
“I was determined and I went through the motions to score the goal,” said Harper.
The Knights responded with a goal of their own to put the game out of reach. Ashley Nicole scored on a free kick to give the Knights a 3-1 lead with 7:20 remaining in the match.
USF hopes to get its first win of the season Sunday, Aug. 19 against Miami at Corbett Soccer Stadium at 1 p.m.
“We have a day of rest and we have to come out to play and to win the game,” said Schilte-Brown.