Backed by two goals apiece from juniors Kevon Neaves and Jordan Seabrook, the University of South Florida men's soccer team earned a season-opening victory 5-2 over UCF, Friday night at the USF Soccer Stadium.
Not to be outdone, senior Simon Schoendorf contributed two assists and outstanding newcomer Tony Taylor also scored for the first time in his career to complete the offensive outpouring from USF.
The Bulls came into the game with an 18-3-4 all-time edge over UCF and the team was able to survive a few miscues to add one more win to that total.
UCF drew first blood in the fifth minute of the game when Mike Mattson headed a ball past USF keeper Diego Restrepo to put the Bulls down a score.
USF would remain behind for the next 20 minutes before a hard take-down of Schoendorf in UCF's box awarded the team a penalty kick.
After a foul on the first attempt by captain Yohance Marshall, Neaves lined up and fired the second chance past Knights keeper Sean Johnson for his first goal of the night and of the season.
Just two minutes later, Seabrook found the back of the net on an assist from Schoendorf to put the Bulls up 2-1.
Neaves put USF out to a momentarily comfortable 3-1 lead in the 56th minute on a quick leave from Seabrook that he rifled to the high left-side past Johnson.
The Knights closed the gap after Restrepo saw a save in the middle of the box bounce away from him and UCF's James Georgeff connected with a header to make it 3-2.
Feeling a sense of urgency, the Bulls picked up the pace of the game and put it out of reach as Taylor garnered his first career points on a pass from Schoendorf and the tandem of Neaves and Seabrook connected yet again two minutes later for the Indianapolis, Ind. native's second goal of the night.
"I thought the team showed some good maturity tonight," said head coach George Kiefer. "We got some first-game jitters out and I was happy. We made the game a little more interesting than I would have liked, but we gain some good experience from that."
The Bulls out-shot the Knights 21-10 and tallied 12 of those on goal, to the Knight's five.
The men's soccer team will take to the road for their next match, Sun., Sep. 2 from DeLand as the squad battles the Stetson Hatters. Match time is 7 p.m.