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Womens Soccer: USF at VU In BIG EAST Action Thursday

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Courtesy USF

USF at VU In BIG EAST Action Thursday

TAMPA, Fla. –The University of South Florida women’s soccer team looks to win its first-ever BIG EAST Championship game Thursday afternoon when the team faces Villanova in the first round of the postseason tournament. The Bulls and Wildcats kick off at 1 p.m. in Pennsylvania on Nov. 1. 

Last week, first-year head coach Denise Schilte-Brown and the USF squad earned the school's first berth into the BIG EAST Women's Soccer Championship since joining the league three years ago. The Bulls secured the fifth seed in the American Division following a 0-0 tie with Pitt Sunday afternoon in Pennsylvania. 

The last time the Bulls appeared in a league tournament was in 2003, when USF was still in Conference USA. The Bulls were 0-1 in the tournament four times between 1999-2003. USF's last postseason win was in 1998, when USF beat Tulane 4-0, then lost to Marquette 2-1 to end the season. The Bulls were 9-0-2 in C-USA that season, and 15-1-3 overall, earning the regular season conference championship. 

About the Game

On Thursday, USF will play Villanova, (No. 4 in the National Division), for the second time this season. The Bulls and Wildcats tied 0-0 after 110 minutes the first go-around in Tampa, the first-ever meeting between the two teams. USF outshot Villanova 21-16, taking eight shots on goal, a season-high at the time. The Bulls’ 21 shots were the most since the Sept. 3 meeting with FAU in 2006, when the Bulls also had 21 attempts.

A Look at USF

The Bulls ended the regular season 4-8-2 overall with a 3-5-1 clip in the BIG EAST Conference. Senior Autumn Browning and junior Lindsay Brauer led the squad with 10 points apiece as Browning tallied three goals and four assists while Brauer led the team with four scores and two helpers. Sophomore goalkeeper Mallori Lofton-Malachi posted four shutouts in 14 games, saving 61 shots in 1282 minutes. 

A Look at Villanova

Villanova registered a 10-win season, posting a 10-3-6 record overall and a 4-3-4 mark in the league. Three players – Nikki Mabery (13), Erin Byrnes (13) and Stacia Hartung (11) – recorded at least 10 points for the Wildcats this season. Mabery and Hartung co-led the team with five goals and Byrnes was the squad’s leader in assists, with five. Two-time BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year Jillian Loyden played 18 games for Villanova, notching 11 shutouts. In 1731 minutes, she stopped 79 opponent shots. 

Upcoming Schedule

In the single-elimination tournament, the winner of Thursday’s first round game will play in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals that will be held at campus sites on Sunday, Nov. 4. The final four teams will play the remainder of the championship in Morgantown, W.Va., Nov. 9 and 11. Semifinals will be at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, and the finals at **** Dlesk Stadium are at noon Eastern Sunday, Nov. 11.

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