South Florida Wins Inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship after Wild PK shootout
FRISCO, Texas – After a scoreless battle through 110 minutes of regulation, Duane Muckette of the University of South Florida stepped up and slotted home the winning PK to give the USF Bulls a shootout win over UConn in the American Athletic Conference Championship final at Toyota Stadium. This marks the first conference title for USF men’s soccer since 2008, and their first ever AAC title.
Despite not registering a shot on goal throughout the entire match, the Bulls were able to survive to a wild see-saw shootout that lasted 9 rounds before Muckette finally found the game winning kick that gave USF the victory, 6-5.
USF keeper Brentton Muhammad came up huge in regulation with a total of ten saves overall, but it was in the shootout where he really shined. Muhammad made three PK saves in a row including two where he had to make the stop to keep his team in the match.
“I just try to read the boys as best as possible and make my decision on the save,” USF GK Brentton Muhammad said, “We practice every day in training to never give up and these boys practice what they preach.”
USF looked to have the game won leading 4-3 heading into the fifth and final round of PKs, but Huskies 'keeper Andre Blake extended the match with a diving save. Muhammad and Blake went toe-to-toe in the extra rounds stopping four consecutive shots before the Bulls finally won the trophy.
“We’ve been through a lot this year and a lot of people have counted us out being in that national tournament and these boys keep fighting even when people think we’re done and dusted. We just pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and just keep going,” Muhammad expressed his pride in winning the conference title.
With the victory over UCONN, the Bulls secure an automatic NCAA bid while UCONN will certainly be headed to the tournament as well.