Bulls Advance to Elite 8 on Penalty Kicks
Photo by Carl Wagenfohr
TAMPA – The USF men’s soccer team advanced to the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 win in penalty kicks over UNC Greensboro on Saturday night at the USF Soccer Stadium.
The game went to penalty kicks after two overtimes left the game tied at 1-1.
That set the stage for sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Attinella to play hero to the hometown crowd of over 1,800.
“I told the team if we go into penalty kicks, Jeff will win the game for us,” said USF head coach George Kiefer. “He saved two penalty kicks (on fouls in regulation) during the regular season and in training he is very hard to beat. So yes, we felt good going into the shootout.”
Attinella stopped the first two UNCG penalty kicks, while Joris Claessens and Javed Mohammed buried the first two opportunities for USF.
“We fought hard to get to that situation. I really enjoyed it. What an atmosphere! Especially, when students are supposed to be on Thanksgiving break. To have that kind of fan support behind us, it really meant a lot.”
UNCG and USF both scored during the third round and the pressure was on UNCG to extend play with the opening kick of the fourth round.
Attinella did not let that happen as he dove, fully-extended to his right to stonewall UNCG junior E.J. O’Keefe and move the Bulls onto the Elite 8.
The No. 8 USF men’s soccer team will next face the No. 1 seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem NC on Saturday, December 6 at 4:30 p.m. The winner of that match will advance to the NCAA Division I Final Four on Friday December 12 in Frisco, Texas.
Wake Forest is the defending National Champion and have a 20-1-1 record this season.
The Bulls are 1-1 all-time against the Demon Deacons with their last meeting in 1996 when the Bulls won 4-2 in Winston-Salem.
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