Attinella, soccer seniors ready for home finale
TAMPA -- Jeff Attinella has rewritten USF's goalkeeping record books, and as the senior from Countryside prepares for his final regular-season home game Wednesday night against Rutgers, he wants to see the Bulls continue his college career as long as possible.
"You always want to finish everything on top, whether that's winning the Big East or winning everything," Attinella said Tuesday. "As a team, as long as we did everything we could, I can leave happy knowing we gave everything we had and fought to the end. This is a really important week for that."
The Bulls (8-3-4) won a Big East championship in 2008, and Attinella is wrapping up a record-breaking three-year run in goal for USF. His 28 career shutouts have long surpassed the previous mark of 21, and he matched another school mark by recording six in a row this season, a span of 668 scoreless minutes.
His next shutout will be his 11th, breaking Troy Perkins' 2001 record; his career goals-against-average of 0.71 should finish below the Bulls career record of 0.76, set by Dan Peterson in 1981. Attinella's ownership of the goal is a complete one -- he's logged every minutes between the posts over the last two seasons, and doesn't plan to have that change the rest of the way.
"Now that I'm in there, I don't want to come out," Attinella said. "I look at it as 'This is my net. This is kind of my team.' It's going to take a lot to keep me out of a game."
He's proven that in the last month -- he took a blow to the head against Cincinnati that had him fearing a concussion -- luckily, it wasn't -- and then this weekend against Louisville, another collision knocked out a tooth. He understands the aggressive, physical play he's greeted with comes with his being last year's Big East Goalkeeper of the Year and a first-team All-American; he's now projected as a draft pick in January's MLS SuperDraft, though he's as excited about graduating in December with a degree in communications.
"The things I've done, I'm most proud of it not because of the awards, but because I had to put a lot of hard work in to get where I am," said Attinella, a captain for the second season in a row. "Our senior class is a great group of leaders."
THIS AND THAT: USF's women's soccer team's NCAA Tournament resume would get a big boost if the Bulls can win Sunday afternoon at Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. The Bulls (11-4-3) have their best record in 11 years and a 6-3-2 mark in conference play. ... Men's basketball opens its preseason Monday with a home exhibition against Eckerd College. Eckerd's roster includes 6-10 center Dale Carn, brother of women's basketball player Daleisha Carn.