Fall Sports

WSOC: Bulls Run Over Gators in Opening Game of NCAA Tournament

Photo by Kristen Oliff / ChompTalk.com

As a few of the players called it, the University of South Florida has been on a sort of “revenge tour” this postseason.

The Bulls beat UCF and No. 8 Memphis to win the AAC conference tournament and set up a rematch with Florida to open up the NCAA Tournament.

USF lost to all three of these teams in the regular season.

As it turns out, revenge is a dish best served cold and misty in the form of a 4-2 victory over the Gators in a typically wet Gainesville night on Friday.

First Half

Deanne Rose got the start at striker with top scorer Vanessa Kara injured. Rose missed the SEC tournament due to commitments with the Canadian national team, and her dynamism was on display immediately.

Rose and winger Kit Loferski combined a few times early to create some dangerous chances for the Gators. However, the Bulls paced Florida in shots, often letting it fly from long-range.

Neither team found the back of the net until the 42nd minute, when Florida defender Carina Baltrip-Reyes lost the ball near her own box. It ended up at the feet of AAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year and USF top scorer Evelyne Viens, who made no mistake with a low finish past keeper Susi Espinoza. Midfielder Roaslia Muino Gonzalez picked up the assist on the Bulls’ strike to put the visitors up 1-0.

The Bulls had 12 shots going into the break, while Florida had five.

Second Half

Viens picked up where she left off soon after play resumed. In the 51st minute, AAC midfielder of the year Andrea Hauksdottir picked out Viens with a through ball in the box, and the striker slotted another low shot past Espinoza to double the Bulls’ lead.

Just three minutes later, Viens would complete her hat trick. A bad mistake from Espinoza gifted USF possession in the Gator box, and, as it usually has this season, the ball ended up at the feet of Viens, who gave the Bulls a 3-0 lead.

Rose would give the Gators life, though, in the 61st minute. She swiped the ball away from Bulls defender Lucy Roberts to give herself a one-on-one with the keeper. She curled the ball into the net to put Florida on the board.

The action lulled until an 83rd minute USF corner, when defender Fanny Pelletier-Laroche headed the ball powerfully past Espinoza to make the score 4-1.

Florida would score once again through Georgia Eaton-Collins just a minute later, but it was evident the Gators would not be able to overcome the 2-goal deficit with so little time left.

The game finished 4-2 with a total of 32 shots between the teams in what was a very offensive game in the second half, 14 of which belonged to the Gators.

Gator Outlook

This is the end of the road for the Gators in 2019.

They finish the season with a total record of 11-9-1. The team won just one of its last six games.

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