South Florida freshman Wesley Charpie had been the Bulls' best this season at setting up teammates for goals, but on Sunday he provided the team's biggest goal of the year.
Charpie headed in a cross from teammate Sebastien Thuriere with 4:13 remaining in overtime, lifting USF to a 2-1 victory against Central Florida in an NCAA Tournament second-round match before an announced crowd of 3,029 at Corbett Stadium.
The seventh-seeded Bulls (14-3-3) will host No. 10 New Mexico in a third round match Sunday at 6 p.m.
"It's the best feeling I've ever had," said Charpie, a product of Tarpon Springs High.
It might not have been the best game of the season for the Bulls. They surrendered a tying goal just two minutes, 11 seconds after taking the lead midway through the second half and missed a great chance to go ahead with 6:54 to play when Leston Paul's penalty kick went off the right post. But they were able to remain focused despite those adverse situations.
"I really give my guys a lot of credit," USF coach George Kiefer said.
USF goalkeeper Chris Blais had a big hand in the final outcome, making five key saves – including three diving stops – in what Kiefer termed a "phenomenal" performance.
"Blais had to come up with three saves he had no business making, and he came up with them," Kiefer said.
In the end, it was Charpie who came through with the golden goal on a pass from Thuriere to beat UCF keeper Sebastian Evers.
"I saw that there were three guys in the box and I just served it in there, and Wes, he had a great finish," Thuriere said. "That's a clinical finish and a great way to win this game."