For just the 2nd time in program history, the USF Bulls are in the NCAA tournament. USF finished the regular season at 13-6-2 (6-3), earning a bid in the NCAA tournament and a chance to host the first round game at Corbett Stadium. Illinois State, the winners of the Missouri Valley Conference, come to town with a record of 15-5-0 (8-0). This is going to be a tough battle for the Bulls but an excellent opportunity to get a huge victory if they can pull it off (game begins at 7 PM).
The Red Birds are led by senior forward Rachel Tejada. Tejada has 18 goals on the year (99 shots) and also leads the team with 10 assists. She is the heart of their offense and will prove to be a tough test for the USF back line. Sophomore forward Hannah Leinert has 11 goals (56 shots on the year) and has 7 assists. With her and Tejada on the front line, Katarina Elliott and the USF defense have a tough task ahead of them. Freshman midfielder Kelli Zickert has 5 goals (28 shot attempts) and 4 assists on the year (just another offensive threat). Freshman midfielder Emily Dickman has 6 goals on just 29 shot attempts (another young striker for them). Rounding out their offensive attack is junior midfielder Ali Farkos who has just 1 goal (29 shot attempts) but is third on the team with 6 assists.
Katarina Elliott has been solid for the Bulls all year. In 13 games she has allowed 10 goals while making 35 stops (.778 save percentage). She, along with the defensive line, have been solid all year and will have to be in this game if the Bulls want to stand a chance.
In net for for Illinois State is redshirt senior Aryn Newsom. She has allowed 23 goals this year (1.18 goals per game) while making 60 saves (.723 save percentage). She is a veteran keeper that will be ready for this game. For the Bulls, the offense will have to keep clicking like it has down the stretch of the regular season. Olivia Chance (9 goals and 5 assists), Leticia Skeete (7 goals and 2 assists), Demi Stokes (4 goals and 4 assists) and the rest of the team have to come through in this one. They came up short against Uconn despite having some many looks in that game. They have to finish off their offensive attacks and find the back of the net.
This is going to be a great game and a huge opportunity for the Bulls at home.