PITTSBURGH – In the season opener for both teams, the Pitt men’s soccer team cruised to a 3-0 win against Presbyterian at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Saturday, Aug. 30.
It was the Panthers’ first home-opening win since the Petersen Sports Complex opened in 2011. Pitt had been 0-1-2 the previous three years. The last time Pitt began the year with a shutout was in 2010, a 1-0 win versus Robert Morris.
Pitt received goals from sophomore Kevin Murray, senior Dan Prete and junior Patrick Dixon. For Murray, it was his fourth career goal in just 12 games, while Prete notched the second of his career and first since he was a freshman. Assists were credited to sophomore Brandon Kolczynski, redshirt junior Ryan Myers and redshirt senior Cory Werth.
Junior Dan Lynd grabbed the first win of his career and fourth shutout. He made two saves in the win, both coming in the game’s final 15 minutes.
The game was never in doubt as Pitt controlled possession right from the opening kick. Within the first 18 minutes of the game, the Panthers had seven corner kicks and six shots before Presbyterian had either of its first.
In the 23rd minute, after dominating play for nearly the entire time, Pitt broke open the scoring following the team’s eighth corner. Myers lofted the ball to the far post where Kolczynski was waiting. Kolczynski redirected a header to the center of the box and Murray capitalized with a header of his own.
Three and a half minutes later, senior Michael Tuohy was awarded a penalty kick after a handball stopped Kolczynski’s shot from entering the net. Tuohy’s attempt banged off the crossbar and Myers’ one-timer was collected by the Blue Hose keeper.
It was only a matter of seven minutes until Pitt added its second goal of the night when Prete slotted home the ball between the goalie’s legs after receiving a pass from Werth. Werth originated the play by beating his defender and dribbling down to the baseline, then centering a pass.
With five minutes still to play in the first half, Pitt recorded its 15th corner kick of the night. Less than 30 minutes into the game, Pitt already had 13 corners, topping the former school record of 12, which was matched three other times, most recently on November 12, 2006 against Cincinnati. The Panthers finished the game with a school record 19 corner kicks.
Pitt tacked on the game’s final goal in the 53rd minute after receiving a penalty kick on another hand ball in the box. This time, Dixon was up for the challenge and beat Blue Hose goalie Johnny Archer to the left for a 3-0 lead.
With a strong performance from the back line and midfield, Lynd was rarely tested, and didn’t face his first shot on goal until the 76th minute. He would need to make only one more save for the remainder of the game, coming with just three seconds to go.
Pitt finished the game with 23 shots, tied for the third most in a game since 2001 while the three goals were fourth most in a contest since 2001.
Archer played 77:23 in goal for the Blue Hose and made seven saves. Connor Behred stood in between the pipes for the final 12:32 and stopped one shot.
The Panthers are head on a three-game road trip starting next Friday, Sept. 5 at William & Mary at 7 p.m.
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