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Soccer triumph caps glorious weekend for USF

By Joey Knight
USF's women's soccer team celebrates its victory Sunday against top-seeded UCF in the American Athletic Conference tournament final. (Photo by Brad Helton)

Fittingly for USF, another hour was added to the weekend — courtesy of Daylight Savings Time — early Sunday morning.

This was the type of weekend the Bulls wanted to last a bit longer.

Providing the bookends was the women's soccer team, which topped SMU 1-0 on Friday in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals; then upset top-seeded UCF on penalty kicks (5-3) in Sunday's final in Orlando for its first AAC tourney crown.

In between, the men's basketball team stomped Flagler, 94-66, in its first and only exhibition game Friday night; the volleyball team rallied for a five-set victory Sunday against Cincinnati; and the football team thrust itself back into the AP top 25 with a 37-20 win at Connecticut.

The football team's offensively-dazzling romp has been well chronicled. Here are some cool facts and key performances from the other wins:

* In one of the sharpest long-range shooting efforts in recent Bulls men's hoops history, Penn State graduate transfer Payton Banks went 6-of-7 from 3-point range and finished with a team-best 19 points. We know, it was only an exhibition and Flagler is a Division II team, but anyone who has watched the Bulls in recent years knows they have struggled to shoot that well in practice.

Meantime, redshirt junior F Isaiah Manderson, who totaled four points and seven rebounds in five appearances last season, had a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds).

* The volleyball team got kills from eight different players to rally from a 2-1 set deficit against the Bearcats. Freshman Doris Carter and senior Priscilla Ehieze led the team with nine kills each, while junior Briana Stowell (21 assists, 11 digs) tallied her first double-double.

* The soccer team, which clinched its fourth NCAA Tournament berth in the last eight seasons, got seven saves in Sunday's final from senior GK Kat Elliott, named the tournament's outstanding defensive player. Though regulation ended in a scoreless tie, the No. 2-seeded Bulls outshot the Knights, 13-7.

Sophomore Evelyne Viens, who had the goal against SMU, was named the tourney's most oustanding offensive player. She and Elliott were joined on the all-tournament squad by teammates Aubrey Megrath and Andrea Hauksdottir.

USF (13-3-1) learns its postseason destiny Monday at 4:30 p.m. when the NCAA selection show airs on NCAA.com.