By PETE YOUNG
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 23, 2001
WHAT/WHERE: South Florida (14-6), Akron (10-6-1) and Penn State (13-4-1) in three-team region at Penn State.
SCHEDULE: USF vs. Akron, 7 tonight; winner vs. Penn State, 1 p.m. Sunday.
TOURNAMENT FAVORITE: Penn State. The Nittany Lions, ranked 11th by Soccer America, are one of the 16 seeded region hosts.
THE SKINNY: By dropping the final game of the regular season and opening game of the Conference USA tournament, the Bulls are endangering what had the makings of a special season. They lost any chance at hosting a region with the slump, but all will be forgotten with two victories here. Coach John Hackworth is intrigued by the matchup with Akron. He thinks each team has mismatches it will exploit, and whoever does so more often will prevail in a high-scoring game. Hackworth's prediction means the onus is on goalkeeper Troy Perkins to make a few big saves and on leading scorers Jason Cudjoe (10 goals) and Jeff Thwaites (nine goals, five assists) to bury multiple chances. ... It snowed Tuesday night in State College, Pa., but today's forecast is partly cloudy with a high of 57 and low of 40 and Sunday is showers with a high 59 and low 40. ... USF and Akron share a common opponent, Louisville. The Bulls beat the Cardinals 1-0, the Zips lost 2-1. ... This is USF's 10th trip to the NCAAs and first since 1998, when the Bulls were eliminated 2-1 in overtime in the first round by William & Mary.