USF women's soccer beats Auburn in NCAAs
Times writer Brian Landman covered Friday night's USF soccer match in Tallahassee. Here's his story:
TALLAHASSEE -- USF sophomore forward Taylor Patterson knew someone had to step up if the Bulls' historic season were to continue.
After perennial SEC power Auburn had tied the game 1-1 early in the second half, Patterson squashed its momentum with her second goal of the game in the 62nd minute, and then reserve freshman forward Sharla Passariello added a clinching goal in the 79th minute for a 3-1 win in USF's NCAA Tournament debut.
"It was a very important goal," Patterson said of her second, which came off an assist by redshirt junior defender Brittany Pilon. "It needed to be done whether it was me or another teammate."
The Bulls (14-5-3) now play host and No. 2 seeded Florida State (14-5-1), a 3-0 winner against Middle Tennessee, in the second round on Sunday at 1 p.m. Sun Sports will broadcast the game live. USF is 0-7-1 against FSU but the teams haven't met since 2004 and never with so much at stake.
"I don't think many teams can say what we're saying, that is we're getting better,'' USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown said, referring to her team winning six straight before losing in the Big East Conference tournament final on Sunday. "It's the right time for us to be progressing ... the girls are maturing with every win and expectations are going up."
Although USF didn't muster many shots (seven total and just five on goal), it cooly capitalized on its best chances. That's something the more postseason-tested Auburn Tigers (11-8-2), in the field of 64 for a ninth time, didn't do.
Auburn had 13 shots, eight on goal, but only scored on sophomore midfielder Ana Cate's shot from the top of the box off a free kick less than seven minutes into the second half to tie the game.
"The whole game we were knocking on the door, we had shots, we had shots on goals, we had opportunities, we finally finished the one and it really gave us the boost we needed," said Cate, a former Newsome High standout. "Mentally, we really thought we could do it. Right after that, we had at least two or three good shots and if those go in, it's a different game."
Instead, Patterson answered with shot from the right side of the box that she pushed by goalkeeper Amy Howard near post for a 2-1 lead as the Bulls regained control of the game. With the Tigers committing more players to the attack to tie the game, they got caught. Passariello's sliding shot as she ran onto a cross from Venicia Reid hit a post and "trickled in,'' as she said, was the exclamation point.
"To get that first one (NCAA) is great, but we want to go further," Patterson said. "It's a big opportunity to prove to everybody we're better than what people think we are."