PITTSBURGH - Freshman Nick Wysong tallied three goals as Pitt men's soccer posted a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Northern Kentucky on Friday evening at Ambrose Urbanic Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.
The Panthers (4-0-2) collected their third-straight victory and remained unbeaten on the season.
Wysong's hat trick was the first for a Pitt player since Nov. 2, 2003 (Billy Brush vs. Syracuse).
"This night has been more than I can ever imagine so far. It was a team win right there," Wysong said after the game, celebrating the hat trick on his 19th birthday. "It can't get much better than having your family here to watch it and it was perfect night for me."
The Panthers had 11 of their 18 totals shots in the second half, which saw a combined four goals by both teams in the later period.
Trailing 2-0, Pitt's first score came in the 59th minute in a scramble for a loose ball. Junior Nico Wrobel worked the ball down into the box and was able to deflect it off of his defender. Wysong controlled and won the scramble, pushing it past NKU goalkeeper Ben Dorn.
The second score originated on a breakaway from junior Ryan McKenzie. The forward was able to get free and dart upfield, making Dorn come out nearly 20 yards to play him. He caused a collision just inside the 18-yard line, knocking down his defender and a Dorn. He chased down the ball, which had settled to the left of the goal and was just about to go out. McKenzie flashed the ball to a streaking Wysong, who booted it home to knot the score at 2-2 at the 75:50 mark.
"Mac (Ryan McKenzie) and Nick work very well together," said Pitt head coach Joe Luxbacher. "Mac gave us a real spark tonight. He was getting behind their defense and that causes trouble. That defender started losing marks and that's what happened on the second goal."
The winning tally came in the 87th minute on the Panthers' 10th and final corner of the night. Sophomore midfielder Matt Walbertdelivered a sweeping entry pass from the far side. Wysong sailed over his defender, heading the ball into the right corner of the goal to propel the freshman to the first hat trick by a Pitt player in nine seasons.
"It seems like every game this year we have been down at least one goal," said McKenzie. "We have great character on this team and we are going to keep fighting until the last minute. We knew we weren't out (of the game) and it was a great fight by everyone and team effort."
The Panthers are now off to their best start through six games since the 2000 season (6-0).
Pitt returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 16, traveling cross-town to face rival Duquesne. Game time at Rooney Field is at 1 p.m.
Pitt 3, NKU 2 September 14, 2012, Pittsburgh, Pa. - Ambrose Urbanic Field
Goals by Period
SCORING SUMMARY: GOAL Time Team Goal Scorer Assists 1 14:59 NKU TONEY, Nick (1) (unassisted) from 8 yards out, into far right corner 2 53:14 NKU TONEY, Nick WALKER, Kevin GK came out to play, open net goal 3 58:41 PITT Wysong, Nick (1) Wrobel, Nico | scramble in front of the goal 4 75:50 PITT Wysong, Nick (2) McKenzie, Ryan nice set up by McKenzie, made GK come out of box 5 86:41 PITT Wysong, Nick (3) Walbert, Matt header into right corner, from the corne