USF couldn’t have started its four game road trip any better. 

The Bulls (8-5-3, 5-2-2) began their weekend with an impressive 3-0 victory against Louisville, ended it with dramatic 2-1 overtime win against Cincinnati, and are now in a first-place tie atop the Big East American Division standings.

 On Friday, USF took a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute when freshman Taylor Patterson found the back of the net for her first collegiate goal.  The Bulls never relinquished their lead.

 “Despite being up 1-0, I really wasn’t happy with the way we played,” said head coach Denise Schilte-Brown.  “They (Louisville) control the ball much better than we did and created a lot more scoring opportunities.”

 Even though the Bulls held a 1-0 score advantage, the first half was statistically controlled by Louisville (4-11-0, 1-8-0) as the Cardinals outshot USF 9-2.

 “I am very proud of the way we came out and responded in the second half,” said USF coach Denise Schilte-Brown.  “We challenged the team at halftime and they came out and really took control of the match.”

 Schilte-Brown’s team came out strong in the second half as they scored twice in the first four minutes of the half.

Sophomore Gina Pacheco put USF up 2-0 just a minute and a half into the second half after taking a cross from sophomore Rehana Murani.  Pacheco has scored a goal in her last two games.

 USF managed to beat Louisville goalkeeper Taylor Vancil one more time.  Valorie O’Brien recorded her second goal of the season when she sent one in from just inside the box to give the Bulls a comfortable 3-0 lead.

 Schilte-Brown was able to give several key reserves valuable playing time, including redshirt freshman goalkeeper Gaby Garton.  Garton made four saves in the 19 minutes of game she played, and she has not conceded a score while in goal for 65 minutes this season.

USF traveled to Cincinnati for their second of four consecutive road games yesterday.  The game proved to be a thriller as USF (8-5-3, 5-2-2) defeated Cincinnati (7-9-1, 2-6-1) 2-1 in overtime.

 The first half was filled with offensive firepower as both teams had four shots on goal and USF outshot the Bearcats 10-8.  Again, both teams were scoreless as the first half ended.

 “The mindset coming in was Cincinnati is a hard team to play,” said assistant coach Chris Brown.  “The girls across the board were fantastic today.”

 USF drew first blood in the 62nd minute when Chelsea Klotz found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead for USF.  Klotz was assisted by Gina Pacheco, her third assist of the season.

 “It gave us all a second win and it was great knowing everyone was behind you,” Klotz said.

 Cincinnati would tie the game just 11 minutes later when sophomore Emily Hebbeler scored the equalizer making it 1-1.  The goal was Hebbeler’s sixth of the season.

 The game would remain tied when regulation ended with the Bearcats holding a 20-17 advantage on shots. USF and Cincinnati had been averaging 13 and 9 shots per game, respectively.

 “Their team and their style are quite difficult to play against because they are direct from all points,” Chris Brown said.  “I would say 17 or 18 of their shots were from 35 yards out or more.  As a coach there were only four shots that I was kind of on edge about.  The rest of them you could see from the moment they let go of them that Mallori (Lofton-Malachi) would handle them.”

 Lofton-Malachi finished the match with eight saves.

Klotz would win it for the Bulls in overtime.  Klotz scored six minutes into overtime when Rehana Murani passed to Klotz for the game winner.  The goal was Klotz’s seventh of the season and eleventh of her career.

 “I was really excited for not only myself but my team,” Klotz said.  “I was really happy that we worked together to come together for a win.”

-Johnathon Mulder