USF men's soccer has four wins against ranked opponents this season, including Saturday's 3-2 victory over No. 8 St. John's, but coach George Kiefer said his players, ranked as high as No. 11 themselves, can't complain about their position in the national polls until they take care of business against lesser opponents.
"It's not disrespectful that we're not ranked in the top five or six. It's because of what they've done this season," Kiefer said. "They've dropped some games they shouldn't have dropped, tied some games they shouldn't have tied. We cannot look and say, 'Why is this poll treating us this way?' Look right in the mirror and answer that question yourself. We still have a lot to prove. A bunch of guys who want to be respected across the country. Well, then show up every day."
The Bulls (7-2-2) have plenty of elite wins but have a bad loss to Saint Louis, which is now 2-7-1, and ties to lackluster opponents such as Dartmouth (4-4-2) and Providence (6-4-1). So rather than praise his team for the St. John's win, Kiefer is calling his players out and challenging them to play at a high level at 7:30 tonight at home against DePaul (4-6-2). The game is on BHSN.
"I'm waiting for us to show up," Kiefer said. "I would really like us to respect DePaul (tonight) and give them our A game. Then I can start to say, 'This team wants to accomplish something.' Until you do it every day, I don't know that I have that thought solid in my mind."
Kiefer has had perhaps the best success of any USF program in the Big East era, winning a Big East championship in 2008 and reaching the NCAA Elite Eight that year. He won't answer questions about this year's postseason potential, with six matches left in the regular season and issues remaining for his team.
"You start looking over there, you take one on the chin," he said.
THIS AND THAT: Junior Dom Dwyer, who leads the Big East with 10 goals, celebrated his first goal Saturday with a running backflip. "I'm not a fan of the backflip, not a fan of it at all," Kiefer said. "He does have a little tweak in his back right now, so I think we're going to eliminate that. He might also tell me he's going to keep doing it, too." … Bulls DT coach Kevin Patrick has a history against UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni. He has a picture in his home from his days as a Miami defensive end, showing him tackling Syracuse QB Marvin Graves to force a fumble and defensive touchdown in a 49-0 Hurricanes win against Pasqualoni's Orange team in 1993. He told his defensive linemen this week not to be surprised if Pasqualoni mixes in some option on offense with the Huskies on Saturday. … USF volleyball, after an 0-5 start, is 4-2 to open Big East play, with key matches at DePaul and Notre Dame this weekend before the Bulls return home to face Louisville (6-0) and Cincinnati (5-1) next weekend.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.