Women’s soccer upsets nationally ranked South Florida

After losing to Central Florida, 2-1, on Thursday, Temple defeated South Florida in overtime on Sunday at the Temple Sports Complex.

Teammates celebrate with freshman forward Gabriela Johnson after her overtime goal during the Owls' 1-0 win against USF at the Temple Sports Complex on Sunday. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University women’s soccer defeated a ranked team for the first time in program history on Sunday.

Temple (6-7, 2-2 American Athletic Conference) defeated South Florida (6-2, 1-1 The American) 1-0 in overtime Sunday at the Temple Sports Complex. The Bulls are ranked No. 19 in the United Soccer Coaches poll. They are also the defending champions of the American Athletic Conference.

After both teams went scoreless during regulation, freshman midfielder Gabriela Johnson scored in the 105th minute to give the Owls the upset win.

“I couldn’t be much more proud than I am of that win,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “It was clearly the best win in the history of the program.  … We came up with a great game plan and the players did an amazing job executing it. It was as close to a perfect outing as we could’ve hoped for.”

All four of Johnson’s goals this season have come in the last three games. Sunday wasn’t the first time Johnson gave the Owls an overtime victory. Johnson scored the game-winning goal in the 95th minute against the University of Houston on Sept. 23.

O’Connor said he’s pleased with Johnson’s play but thinks she has a lot more potential.

“She’s learning,” O’Connor said. “The goal-scoring is great. It’s going to get better with age. She’s not even close to being as good as she could possibly be. … The girls are doing a lot of the hard work and then Gabby’s putting the finishing touch on it.”

Temple’s defense was dominant throughout the match; junior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo recorded six saves in the shutout win. The Owls limited the Bulls’ junior forward Evelyne Viens to zero shots. Viens has 11 goals — making her second in the nation.

Before upsetting South Florida, the Owls lost 2-1 to Central Florida on Thursday at the Temple Sports Complex.

Both teams were a minute away from going into halftime scoreless. However, the Knights’ redshirt-junior forward Jessica Taylor scored in the 44th minute.

“The girls played excellent,” O’Connor said. “We took two minutes off and it cost us. We played for 88 minutes instead of 90.  … That’s a goal we shouldn’t give up. That was just a terrible goal. All eleven players stopped playing for some reason.”

Central Florida (5-3-1, 2-0 The American) outshot Temple 15 to 8.

Central Florida junior midfielder Zandy Soree scored three minutes into the second half. Johnson made the score 2-1 in the 60th minute.

“I just took the ball down the field and just ran for it,” Johnson said. “I noticed that [junior forward] Morgan [Morocco] was open, so I touched it to her. It ended up deflecting off of the goalkeeper and I just one-timed it in.”

O’Connor said the team has been playing well in conference play and the South Florida win gave them more confidence heading into the rest of the season.

“The change in result was big for us,” O’Connor said. “The win [against South Florida] just kind of topped off everything. I look back at the team during non-conference play, it’s not even close to the team we have right now. They know that they’ve beaten the best. They believe they can compete with anybody in the conference.”

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