TAMPA -- USF Women’s Soccer kicked off the 2012 season at home on Friday, but fell 3-1 to the No. 12 UCF Knights before a crowd of 581 at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
Redshirt senior Marsha Harper netted the lone goal for the Bulls, assisted by Sharla Passariello. USF trailed by two in the 75th minute, when Harper beat Knights keeper Liane Maldonado for the Bulls first goal of the season.
Freshman Christiane Endler played the entirety of the game in goal, notching four saves. Endler is one of 13 freshmen on the Bulls 31-player roster.
The Knights broke the scoreless tie in the 26th minute, when Jennifer Martin converted on a penalty kick. UCF doubled that lead 14 minutes into the second half on a goal by Taylor Townsend.
Harper’s goal again cut the lead down to one, but Ashley Nicol added on another for UCF to put the game out of reach with less than eight minutes remaining.
The Knights outshot the Bulls on the evening 12-7.
The Bulls are coming off a 2011 campaign which saw them go 6-8-4 overall, 2-6-3 in the Big East, on their way to a seventh place finish. This season USF was picked to finish third in the American Division, and went 2-0 during the brief pre-season slate.
USF began its season against UCF for the second straight year, last season falling 5-1 in the opener. The Knights earned a trip to the Elite Eight in 2011, finishing the season ranked 12th in the nation.
The Bulls will be back in action on Sunday, as they host Miami at 1 p.m.