TAMPA -- USF senior Leston Paul gave a slight stutter-step, then pushed his shot through, off the fingertips of a diving Florida Gulf Coast goalkeeper, giving the Bulls a 5-3 victory on penalty kicks after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer, advancing the Bulls to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"Score," Paul said, asked what was going through his mind on the winning kick. "That's it. One word. Just score. Put it away."
The Bulls (8-5-5) get to say home and will play host to Tulsa on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Corbett Stadium, where an announced crowd of 1,379 stuck around through light rain and cool temperatures. USF got a shutout from keeper Dallas Jaye, and the Bulls got their window for victory when FGCU (11-5-3) saw its second penalty kick go wide of the goal.
"The students were loud -- they helped us tonight," Jaye said. "Without them, I don't know if those Florida Gulf Coast guys to get the jitters during PKs."
All five Bulls -- Kevin Olali, Lucas Baldin, Gerard Hernandez, Ashani Fairclough and Paul -- converted their penalty kicks, with Baldin's glancing off FGCU keeper Nathan Ingham's fingertips, just as Paul's did.
Here's postgame video of coach George Kiefer, Jaye and Paul talking about the victory.