TAMPA – The Bulls found themselves in a shootout with
Louisville with the season on the line, but it was all good Sunday at Corbett
Freshman Olivia Chance set up, jogged to the ball and sent
the USF women’s soccer team to the Big East semifinals as the Bulls edged the
Cardinals, 4-3, in penalty kicks. Freshman keeper Christiane Endler continued
to be a force in front of the net and made a diving stop during the shootout to
help the Bulls gain an advantage as the excitement mounted in front of an
electric home crowd.
USF will face Georgetown 6:30 p.m. Friday in Storrs, Conn.,
after the Hoyas defeated DePaul, 1-0, in the quarterfinals earlier Sunday.
Head coach Denise Schilte-Brown’s smile at the end of the
celebration matched the Bulls’ demeanor heading into the pressure-packed
shootout as the Bulls found it easy to keep their cool.
“I didn’t have to say much, which is nice. I think when
you’re prepared in advance there isn’t a lot that you have to say,”
Schilte-Brown said. “We knew who our shooters were going into the game. We knew
Christiane is amazing, so I felt confident that she would save a shot, at
Endler was a part of nine shutouts during the regular season
and secured another through Sunday’s overtimes by making eight saves, including
a diving stop at close range in the final 2 minutes of regulation.
“She always has our back. The shots that she saved are
amazing. They should be in, but they’re not,” Chance said.
USF’s defense hung tough after regulation and strong
individual efforts on offense made the total team effort a memorable one.
Sharla Passariello, Jessica Clark, Demi Stokes each scored in the shootout
before it all came down to the freshman from New Zealand to send the final shot
“She’s an international player, a confident girl. We saved
her for last because we knew she could handle the pressure,” said Schilte-Brown
USF (10-5-3) now shifts its attention to a Georgetown team
it has yet to face this season and the Bulls already are pumped up for more
success in the Big East’s final four.
“We keep fighting and I think next week we’re going to dig
and get the goals that we need,” Chance said.