NCAA men's tournament
White scores three, sets UConn records in 5-0 romp over South Florida.
| Connecticut had five goals to celebrate in its NCAA tournament rout of South Florida.
-- University of Connecticut web site photo --
STORRS, Conn. (Sunday, December 2, 2007) -- Junior forward O'Brian White struck three times, powering No. 1 Connecticut to an easy 5-0 triumph over 19th-ranked South Florida in an NCAA Men's Soccer Championship Round of 16 match before 2,882 at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium this afternoon.
With his third hat trick of the season, White, a Canadian from Scarborough, Ontario, increased his lead in the NCAA Division I goal-scoring standings with 23, as well as setting several UConn school records. White set a Huskies record for most goals in a season, eclipsing the 22 scored in 1979 by Joe Morrone, Jr., son of the legendary coach for which the soccer stadium is named.
Additionally, White became the first UConn player to score three goals in a game three times in a season and career.
The Huskies (20-2-1) advanced to a Saturday home quarterfinal with No. 13 Virginia Tech (13-3-5). The Hokies used a goal by junior striker Patrick Nyarko in the 23rd minute to edge Old Dominion 1-0 today.
UConn swept all three meetings this year with USF (14-6-2), its Big East rival, by a combined 9-1, and has won all seven matches in the series between the schools.
"It was just one of those days where everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong," USF coach George Kiefer said. "In a couple of days, when we look back, we'll be proud of what the guys did this season, especially with getting to the Sweet 16. And we had only six losses on the year and 50 percent of them are to Connecticut. They are a top team for sure. I give them a lot of credit."
Sophomore midfielder Mike Pezza assisted White's first two tallies, coming in the second and 22nd minutes, raising his NCAA-leading total to 19, one shy of the program record of 20 in a season, set by Pedro DeBrito in both 1979 and 1981.
The Huskies needed just 41 seconds to take a lead in their opening tournament outing, a 2-0 decision over Vermont in the second round. Today, UConn jumped ahead after 62 seconds.
Pezza fed the ball up to the top left of the penalty area from where White drove his shot past Bulls freshman goalkeeper Diego Restrepo for a 1-0 advantage.
The duo increased the lead to 2-0 when Pezza's cross was headed home by White from six yards with 21:02 elapsed
The Huskies also started the second half fast with junior midfielder Akeem Priestley finding the right corner of the net with an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season, 1:12 after the break.
White's third goal increased the margin to 4-0 off an assist from sophomore midfielder Toni Stahl at 59:12.
Senior forward Chukwudi Chijindu came off the bench in the 71st minute and, less than five minutes later, collected a pass from Priestley, beat a defender on the right side and sent a hard shot into the far corner of the net to make it 5-0.
The Huskies outshot USF 18-7. UConn freshman keeper Josh Ford made three saves, recording his 20th victory, equaling a school record set by Bryheem Hancock in 2000. Ford's 14 clean sheets lifted him into a three-way tie for second in the school record book.