Tag Archives: soccer

Liam Kelly scored the Dons’ only goal against Gonzaga, but it was enough as USF prevailed 1-0. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Soccer Teams Wrap Up Season, Karlsen Named to All-WCC First Team


The Dons put forth a strong effort on the road, but ultimately rounded out their season with a tough 1-0 double overtime loss to the Portland Pilots on Nov. 17., after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 1-0 two days earlier in Spokane, Wash.

Despite the loss, USF played well against Portland, taking 17 shots to their opponents’ 11 and keeping the Pilots (9-11-0, 4-8-0 WCC) scoreless through regulation play. The Dons kicked into a higher gear at the start of overtime — senior midfielder Vegard Karlsen had multiple chances to win the game, but his shots couldn’t find the net. In the second overtime, USF continued to put pressure on Pilots goalie Justin Baarts, but to no avail. In the 106th minute, Portland midfielder Matthew Coffey sent a strong kick past San Francisco redshirt freshman goalkeeper Connor Gaal and into the goal, stunning the Dons and giving the home team an improbable 1-0 victory.

On Nov. 15, USF notched a huge win against Gonzaga (9-6-3, 4-4-3 WCC), jumping out to an early lead on senior forward Liam Kelly’s third goal of the season. In the 18th minute, Kelly controlled a pass from senior midfielder Mauricio Diaz de Leon and capitalized on his scoring opportunity to give the Dons a 1-0 advantage. For the rest of the match, USF junior goalkeeper Chase Hauser was able to prevent the Bulldogs from scoring, saving a penalty kick and helping San Francisco hold on in the final minutes. It was an impressive performance by the Dons, who snapped a three-game losing streak with the win.

Although they didn’t end the year with a winning record, many players turned in successful campaigns and rewarded for their efforts. Karlsen was named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team, while junior forward Miguel Aguilar and Diaz de Leon were awarded Second Team honors.

This season also marked Head Coach Erik Visser’s final year with the team. Visser, who began his coaching career at USF in 2001, announced his retirement on Nov. 20. A two-time NCAA champion as a player for legendary Dons coach Stephen Negoesco as well as a three-time WCC Coach of the Year, Visser leaves the program as a central figure in the history of USF soccer whose impact will be felt for years to come.


In their last two matches of the year, the Dons suffered close losses to Portland and Gonzaga, falling by a score of 1-0 in both games.

On Nov. 19 at Merlo Field, USF (6-10-4, 1-6-2) gave No. 12 Portland (16-2-1, 8-1-0) all it could handle, keeping the score tied until the 67th minute, when Pilots midfielder Ellen Parker found an opening off of a corner kick and gave Portland a lead they would not relinquish.

The loss was a disappointing one for the Dons, but the team proved that they can hang with the best in the conference, let alone the nation. Sophomore goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel’s four saves put San Francisco in position to come up with a win or tie, and junior Mackenzie Krieser got a good look at the goal in the first half, but in the end the Dons couldn’t outlast the Pilots, who clinched the top spot in the West Coast Conference with the victory.

In their previous game, the Dons fell behind early and were never able to recover. Facing Gonzaga (7-11-1, 3-6-0) on the road, USF came out aggressive and attempted two early shots, but in the seventh minute the tides turned, and the Dons gave up a goal to Bulldogs forward Heather Johnson.

The Dons didn’t let their offensive struggles affect their effort, however, as they worked hard to even the score late in the game. Junior midfielder Jaciara Mello nearly tied the match in the 86th minute, but her shot was saved by Gonzaga goalkeeper Christie Tombari.

San Francisco ended the season in ninth place in the WCC, but their multiple heart-wrenching losses suggest that their record would be much better if the ball had rolled their way a few more times. USF lost five games by just a one-goal margin.

The Dons held high academic standards all season long, with the players combining to average a GPA of 3.36. Also, three different Dons were given All-WCC honors. Junior forward Halle Bissin and Schiffel were both Honorable Mention selections, and freshman defender Jessica Nakae was named to the All-Freshman Team.

The Real Fútbol Has Arrived

As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it has come to my attention that, for the first time in history, Americans are actually showing genuine interest in soccer. But what is it that has sparked an interest in the beautiful game? Countless factors have played a role in developing soccer in the United States for decades. Soccer’s first major step toward popularity in the U.S. took place in 1993, when Major League Soccer (MLS) was founded as a part of the United States’ bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

While the 1994 World Cup was a great success, the sport was nearly forgotten following the completion of the tournament. However, in 2002, the U.S. Men’s National team made a surprising run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, which instilled a sort of respect for the squad here in the States. In 2006, another notable year for the development of soccer, a series of transfers saw top American players — namely Tim Howard and Landon Donovan — sign contracts with notable European teams like England’s Manchester United and Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen.
 As a baby chick pecks at the shell that keeps it from being exposed to the outside world, soccer fights the same battle to break
 into American society.
The 2010 FIFA World
Cup, which was hosted
on African soil for the
first time in history,
seemed to mark the
biggest year for soc
cer in American culture. After two games 
of group play resulted in a disappointed team, USA packed its bags to head back home for an early exit. Then, the unthinkable happened. In the last match of the group stages, American star Landon Donovan scored a goal in the final seconds against Algeria — winning the game and sending the U.S. team into the elimination round of the World Cup.

The past five years in particular have been great for marketing soccer to the American public. From 2008 to 2013, soccer’s popularity has increased drastically. The first sign was when world-renowned celebrity and soccer great David Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy to help promote the sport in the United States. As a result, eyes around the world turned to the MLS to analyze the quality of American players. They put their skills to the test in order to confirm that soccer was no longer just a hobby in the United States.

The progression of soccer over the past 20 years has led us to the present day. But what does that really mean? As technology has improved, the world essentially has become a more global village. So, when Drake — yes, Drake — signed on to be an ambassador for FIFA 14, the famous soccer videogame, his worldwide fan base became exposed to the game. This reality helps illustrate that in a world where someone in the United States can communicate instantaneously with a friend in China via social media, it is ultimately inevitable that the game of soccer, a sport that is played in every part of the world, would eventually blossom in the United States. I am just glad that it gives us Americans enough time to learn about soccer so that we may show some national pride in the 2014 FIFA World Cup this coming June.

Men’s Soccer: Miguel Aguilar’s Late Goal Carries Dons to Victory Over San Diego

The Dons wrapped up their two-game homestand with a 1-0 loss to the Loyola Marymount Lions after defeating the San Diego Toreros 1-0 two days earlier on an overtime goal by junior forward Miguel Aguilar. USF (6-8-2, 3-4-1 WCC) has three road games and one home game left this season.

On Sunday afternoon, the Dons put forth an admirable effort against Loyola Marymount, the top team in the West Coast Conference. The score remained tied at 0-0 throughout the first half and well into the second. In the first 45 minutes, the Dons emphasized defense and strong goalkeeping from freshman Connor Gaal to keep the Lions (10-3-2, 6-1-1) at bay.

“I thought it was a terrific first half,” head coach Erik Visser told USFDons.com. “LMU is a very good team. They are very athletic, played with urgency, they have a lot of dynamic players in the final third but I thought we really shut them down in the first half.”

The Dons continued their impressive play coming out of halftime, but were dealt a blow in the 66th minute when Aguilar suffered an injury. Sensing a chance to tilt the game in their favor, the Lions finally broke through in the 80th minute, when Jack McCracken sent a shot on the ground into the left side of the goal. Gaal had four saves on the night, but McCracken’s nicely placed kick went just past his outstretched hands.

Dons senior forward Michael Shaddock nearly evened the score four minutes later, but his long range shot was just high, sailing over the goal post as USF fans’ momentary hope turned to disappointment. From then on, Loyola Marymount was able to maintain its slim advantage, and Dons ended the game scoreless.

On Friday, the Dons were on the victorious side of a 1-0 match, beating San Diego on a game-ending goal by Aguilar. It was a satisfying win for the Dons, who stifled the Toreros offense for the second time this season, having defeated them 2-0 on Oct. 18.

The Dons, who have lost six games by only one goal each so far this year, almost experienced another heartbreaking loss at the hands of San Diego. In the 88th minute, the Toreros’ Keegan Smith had a good look at the goal, but his shot’s path was interrupted by Gaal, who recorded six saves on the evening.

After 90 minutes of play, the score was deadlocked at 0-0, and both teams entered overtime desperate to score the elusive winning goal. Just three minutes into the first ten-minute period, the Dons struck gold, as Aguilar’s shot bounced off of the Toreros goalkeeper and found its place in the back of the net as the crowd erupted. Aguilar was hoisted onto the shoulders of his fellow teammates, and the celebration ensued as San Diego players looked on in shock.

The 93rd-minute goal provided an exhilarating finish to a game where USF was not always in top form. The Dons took just five shots all game, but still willed themselves to a win in a display of grittiness and persistence.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Visser told USFDons.com. “We got a good shutout, a great goal by Miguel [Aguilar]. Sometimes you don’t play pretty or effective and today was a good win for us.”

The final score for USF’s match at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday, Nov. 6 was not available at press time. San Francisco now returns home for their final game at Negoesco Stadium, which comes against rival Santa Clara on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Jesus Del Toro scored a crucial goal in the 78th minute against Stanford, but it was not enough to lift the Dons over the Cardinal in what was a suspenseful, hard-fought match. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Men’s Soccer: Dons Hang Tight, Stumble Late in Overtime Loss at Stanford

Zach Batteer netted a 97th-minute goal, and the Stanford Cardinal put their stamp on a gripping 2-1 win over the University of San Francisco on Friday night at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. It was a game that saw two teams that have had mixed success go head to head and try to claim a much-needed win. Taking control early on, Stanford (7-4-2) dictated the flow of the game as they had the majority of possession and were able to get into Don territory early and often. Stanford’s Ty Thompson lead this charge, and was able to get a large share of the touches as the offense ran through him in the first half. Thompson even initiated the offense that saw Stanford take a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute, as a feed to Stanford’s Jordan Morris created a shot attempt that was cleaned up by Batteer, his first of two goals on the game.

Even as the Cardinals were able to maintain control of possession following Batteer’s goal, all it took was a loose ball for sophomore midfielder Jesus Del Toro to tie the game in the 78th minute, putting the Cardinals on their heels and Dons in a comfortable position.

“After Jesus scored we had more possession and we were pushing to score another goal,” sophomore defender Joshua Smith said.

After that, the home crowd became increasingly nervous as the Dons (5-7-2) began to start banging on the door, pushing farther and farther into Cardinal territory. Although regulation ended with a 1-1 tie, the break in play did not seem to stifle any momentum the Dons had acquired in the last few minutes of play, and their captivating performance continued as both teams got quality looks at the goal. Stanford keeper Drew Hutchins made a spectacular save that kept the Cardinals in the game, and USF goalkeeper Chase Hauser saved a one-timer from Cardinal JJ Koval. But Stanford’s relentless attack in the second half eventually paid off, as Batteer would get his foot on the ball off of a rebound in the seventh minute of overtime, sending it into the goal to give Stanford the victory.

Friday’s game marked the end of four-game road trip that saw the Dons go 2-2, and also represented their final inter-conference game. Despite the loss, the Dons looked sharp and ready to play out the remainder of their WCC stretch, as they seemed to have rebounded from their midseason sluggish play and have picked it up on both sides of the ball.

“Since our home game against Saint Mary’s, our guys have responded terrific,” Visser told USFDons.com. “They played well, organized, created some good opportunities late in the game. We told the guys, ‘Let’s get back to the basics and compete.’”

With 6 games remaining, beginning with their Nov. 3 matchup at home against San Diego, the Dons will soon be able to see how far they’ve come.

Madalyn Schiffel saved five Santa Clara shot attempts, but also allowed nine goals as the Dons suffered a lopsided defeat at the hands of the Broncos. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Women’s Soccer: Dons’ Defense Falters, Gives Up 9 Goals to No. 11 Santa Clara

Sunday, Oct. 27 was an unfortunate day for USF fans as the Dons lost 9-0 to the 11th-ranked Santa Clara Broncos at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Dons (5-8-3, 0-4-1 WCC) were hoping for their first win in West Coast Conference play, but had their work cut out for them playing against the Broncos (11-3-1, 5-0-0), who had won six straight games previous to Sunday’s match.

Santa Clara scored quickly, drilling a ball into the net in the 11th minute of the game. USF was not fazed by the early goal however, and kept their heads up, trying to stay on the offensive side of the ball. After senior midfielder Tyler Campagna’s shot was stopped in the 20th minute of the game, the Dons had opportunities to score on two corner kicks but were unable to get it past Santa Clara’s stellar goal line defense. In total, USF had six corner kicks, but only took three shots on Santa Clara’s goal.

By the 38th minute of the game, the Broncos had put up three goals to the Dons’ zero. Santa Clara would continue to be on the prowl offensively, and concluded the first half with a 4-0 lead. Sophomore goalkeeper Madalyn Schiffel did her best to stop the offensive showing of the Broncos, earning herself four first-half saves.

Santa Clara picked up where they had left off in the second half, blowing the game wide open and scoring five more goals on the Dons. Throughout the game, Schiffel faced 14 shots on goal, the most that a USF opponent has attempted all season.

It was a rough showing for the Dons, but they hope to gain their first WCC win when they return to USF for their final home games of the season. USF will be hosting Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount in their final two matches at Negoesco Stadium. The game against Pepperdine will be broadcasted live on TheW.TV on Friday, Nov. 1 at 5:00 p.m. The Dons will be looking to come back with a vengeance after their loss to the Santa Clara, and will need to improve their defense against Pepperdine Waves, who are currently ranked fourth in the WCC.

A victory over the Waves would go a long way towards wrapping up the season on a strong note. The Dons are currently placed ninth in the WCC standings, with only Loyola Marymount behind them. The Dons are scheduled to play Loyola Marymount on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 12:00 p.m.

M. Diaz de Leon

Men’s Soccer: Dons Lose Heartbreaker to Portland, Shut Out Gonzaga in 0-0 Tie

University of San Francisco, now 3-4-2 overall and  0-1-1 in West Coast Conference play, earned their first shutout since their opening weekend on Sunday, Oct. 6 against WCC rival Gonzaga at Negoesco Stadium. After 110 minutes of aggressive play from both sides, the game ended with a score of 0-0.

San Francisco’s goal heading into this game was to play with high energy, and to put pressure on Gonzaga’s defense. The Dons came out flat in the first half, but became more aggressive as the game continued.

The Dons had one opportunity to score in the first half when senior midfielder Mauricio Diaz de Leon split two Gonzaga defenders, but placed the ball above the goal. The Dons’ offense remained active after the missed opportunity while their solid defense kept Gonzaga scoreless.

In the second half, the Dons came out looking to put the ball in the back of Gonzaga’s net. In the 61st minute, senior midfielder Vegard Karlsen fought his way through the Gonzaga defenders and shot the ball from 15 yards out, but his shot was knocked away by the fingertips of Gonzaga’s goalkeeper.

USF’s defense suddenly came under attack as the game neared the end of regulation time. Gonzaga had an opportunity to score in 75th minute, but the ball soared over the crossbar. Soon after, in the 86th minute, San Francisco fans, players, and coaches let out a sigh of relief when a Gonzaga player’s shot attempt bounced off the crossbar and was cleared successfully by the Dons’ junior goalkeeper, Chase Hauser.

As the game entered overtime, USF’s offense increased its energy. The Dons were able to put three shots on goal during the two ten-minute periods, including one by junior forward Miguel Aguilar that bounced off the goal post. At the end of the overtime period, the Dons were unable to put the ball in the back of the net, and their defense had kept Gonzaga (5-2-2, 0-0-2 WCC) from doing the same, resulting in the 0-0 tie.

Last Friday, USF lost its West Coast Conference home opener against the Portland Pilots. The Dons fell 3-2 after coming back from a 2-0 first-half deficit.

“I’m very disappointed that we lacked the energy and intensity especially on the defensive side in the first half and we really allowed Portland to set the tone and to dictate the tone of the game,” Head Coach Erik Visser said to USFdons.com.

Any momentum that the Dons were able to gain was diffused by the Pilots, who picked apart the Dons’ defense. Portland scored in the 36th minute and the 48th minute of the first half. USF tied the game in the second half, as goals from junior defender David Romney and Aguilar evened the score at 2-2. In the 86th minute, however, the Pilots scored again, breaking the tie and winning the game 3-2.

The score from USF’s home game against the St. Mary’s Gaels on Wednesday, October 9th was not available at press time. The Dons play next at Santa Clara on Friday, October 11th at 7 p.m., a game that marks the first of four consecutive road games for the team.