The women’s soccer team fell 5-0 to No. 22 Portland Saturday in their season finale at Merlo Field. USF finished the season 7-8-4 overall and 2-5-1 in the West Coast Conference. With the win, the Pilots improved to 11-4-4 overall and 5-1-2 in the WCC.
Rebekah Kurle scored Portland’s first goal off an assist by Kendall Johnson at the 2:38 mark of the first half. Kurle added another goal at the 13:27 mark of the first half off an assist by Amanda Frisbee.
Emily Sippel scored two goals of her own, the first at the 20:43 mark of the first half off assists by Frisbee and Michelle Cruz, and the second was unassisted at the 76:33 mark of the second half. Develyn Jeter made it 5-0 with an unassisted goal at the 85:36 mark of the second half.
Despite the result of this final game, the Dons’ 2012 season was one of improvement and promise.
“Now that the season is over, I can really see how far we’ve come as a team. We have grown so much from preseason as a whole and individually,” senior defender Kelly Farrell said.
USF indeed improved this year under new head coach Jim Millinder. Last year, the Dons finished 6-14-0 overall and 2-6-0 in conference play. This year’s team lost six fewer games than the 2011 team, and they showed marked improvement against nationally ranked Santa Clara.
Although the Dons fell behind early against No. 17 Santa Clara on Senior Night, USF fought back to force a 2-2 draw Oct. 26 at Negoesco Stadium. According to usfdons.com, it was the first time in nearly three decades the Dons earned points against the Broncos. Prior to Friday’s game, the Broncos had historically outscored the Dons 75-6.
“The highlight of the season was definitely when we tied Santa Clara for the first time ever on Senior Night. It was not only a great way to finish my last home game, but it really represents where this team is headed. We are more than capable of competing with top-20 teams now,” Farrell said.
Farrell’s elation about the team’s progress turned to nostalgia when she reflected on the fact that she had played her last game as a member of this team.
“I’ll miss the feeling of camaraderie with my teammates the most. They are like my second family and I’ll definitely miss seeing them day in and day out on the field,” Farrell said.
Despite her sadness about leaving the team, Farrell is optimistic about the Dons’ future.
“I truly believe this team can make it to the NCAA tournament next year and has a bright future ahead. We have worked very hard this season to build a strong foundation for next year. I hope that making it to the NCAA tournament becomes a tradition for USF women’s soccer and not just a dream,” Farrell said.
If the team’s historic draw against Santa Clara or their improved overall record is any indication, Farrell’s dream may soon become a reality.