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Oct. 11, 2011

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Note to fans traveling to game Wednesday: due to Cirque du Soleil, the special event parking rate in the OC rate is $10.

The University of Pittsburgh men's soccer team wraps up a four-game home stand on Wednesday evening, Oct. 12 versus No. 24 West Virginia at Ambrose Urbanic Field. Game time is at 7 p.m. Due to weather conditions, the game will not be broadcast via the web.

The Panthers travel to No. 1 Connecticut on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Pitt and WVU (along with Georgetown) boast an identical 2-1-0 mark in the Big East (6 points) - good for a tie for third in the Blue Division standings.  The Panthers and Mountaineers are meeting for the 47th time in program history. 

Pitt has won two of its last three outings, both of those victories coming in league play. The Panthers posted a 2-1 double overtime win over Syracuse on Oct. 1 and recorded a 2-0 triumph over Seton Hall on Oct.  8. The lone set-back last week was a 1-0 overtime loss to non-conference opponent Cleveland State one week ago.

The Last Meeting
Pitt and WVU last faced off on Oct. 14, 2010 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers registered a 2-0 win, holding a 16-5 advantage in shots. Both of WVU's goals were scored in the second half.

About the Mountaineers
WVU posted a 1-0 win over No. 13/19 Georgetown on Saturday, scoring with nine minutes left in regulation. Justin Holmes recorded his second straight shutout and third of the season with two saves. Holmes is ranked seventh among Big East leaders in goals against average (0.83) and 10th in save percentage (.769).

The Mountaineer, who have won two-straight, are currently ranked No. 24 in the latest Soccer America Poll.  WVU is 1-3-1 on the road this season, falling at Maryland (1-3), at UC Santa Barbara (0-2) and at James Madison (0-2). 

Series History with WVU
The Panthers and Mountaineers are facing off in men's soccer competition for the 47th time. WVU leads the all-time series, 32-9-5. Two of the last three meetings have resulted in a tie. The last Pitt win occurred during the 2000 season (1-0).

About the Huskies
Connecticut is ranked No. 1 in the nation and stands at 11-0-1 (2-0-1 BIG EAST) prior to facing Providence on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at home. The Huskies hold a 17-game unbeaten streak at home dating back to November 7, 2009.

Series History with UConn
The Panthers last faced the Huskies on Oct. 31, dropping a 2-0 decision at Founder's Field in the season finale.  Pitt has a 3-16-2 record against UConn with the last win in the series coming in 1995 (2-1).

Big East Honors
Senior Terry Akpua was selected to the Big East Men's Soccer Weekly Honor Roll on Monday. His honor roll nod was the third of the season for a Panthers player as freshman goalkeeper Lee Johnston earned the accolade on two previous occasions (Oct. 3 and Sept. 5). Akpua scored a goal and had an assist in a 2-0 win over Seton Hall. The Bowie, Md. native delivered the pass on the eventual game-winner and scored an insurance goal for the Panthers.

Extra, Extra
The Panthers have played three overtime games this season, posting a 1-1-1 record in those games. Last season, Pitt also played three extra stanza affairs (1-0-2). 

Tops on the Year
The Panthers registered a season high seven points in the win over Seton Hall on Oct. 8 and have posted their top two point totals in a single contest in two of the last three games. Pitt had six points against Syracuse on Oct. 1. The contest versus the Orange marked the first time this season that Pitt tallied two or more goals in a single contest. Last season, the Panthers collected two or more goals in six of 17 games. The three assists on Saturday against Seton Hall were also a team season-best. Pitt has seven assists on its 11 scores. 

Five and Counting ...
Sophomore transfer Nico Wrobel has scored five of the team's nine goals this season. The five goals are the most for a Panthers player in a single season since 2005 (Dwayane Grant Higgins, 5). In 2004, two players (second team All-Big East honoree Keeyan Young and Billy Brush) each registered seven goals. Six different players have accounted for Pitt's 11 goals.  

Perfect Mark

Pitt has been perfect in penalty kicks this season, going 4-of-4. All four goals have been courtesy of Nico Wrobel. The Panthers have yet to give up a PK to an opponent.


There's No Place Like Home
The Panthers have 10 home games this season at their new on-campus home confines (Petersen Sports Complex), the most home contests since the 2007-2008 (11) season when Pitt finished 2-8-1 at home.  Pitt is 3-4 at home so far this season with three more home games still to come. The Panthers, which played nine games at home (Founder's Field) last season, finished the 2010 season with a 6-2-1 home mark.

 Road Wars
Pitt began the 2011 season with a string of four-straight road/neutral games. The last time a Panthers squad played four or more road or neutral games consecutively was during the 2003 season (five-straight). Pitt has never in its 57-year history opened a season with four road/neutral games - the most were three contests to start the 1982 campaign (at George Mason, at Virginia, at Grove City). The most away games to start a season under head coach Joe Luxbacher is two-straight on three occasions. The Panthers posted a 0-5-1 away mark and a 0-2 neutral mark last season.  

In Goal
The Panthers carry four goalkeepers on their roster and all four have seen playing time this season. Freshman Lee Johnston has logged the most minutes (658:00) and paces the quartet with 29 saves, a 0.68 goals against average (3rd in Big East) and an .853 save percentage (3rd in Big East). He has appeared in eight games with a 3-2-1 record. 

Senior Hami Kara has three appearances (191:26) and five saves. Sophomore Keegan Gunderson has two starts and complete games, posting nine saves and a 1-1 mark. Finally, Matt Aberegg got the starting nod at Rutgers on Sept. 23, allowing three goals and stopping three shots.

Some Highs, Some Lows
Pitt posted a season-high 24 shots versus Richmond on Sept. 18, topping its previous season-high of 18 (at Robert Morris in the season opener). Prior to the UR game, the Panthers had a combined 26 shots in the three games prior. Eleven of the 24 shots were on goal - tying s season-high (also at RMU on Aug. 29). 

After the loss to Cleveland State, head coach Joe Luxbacher talked about taking shots when the opportunity was there. The team responded with one of their best on goal showings of the year - five of eight shots on goal (The Panthers previously had a combined five shots on goal in the previous two games/Cleveland St and Syracuse).

The Panthers went 2-6-1 in non-conference play this season, falling in their last non-league tilt a week ago - dropping an overtime decision to Cleveland State.

Head coach Luxbacher fields a team of 10 newcomers - nine freshmen and a sophomore transfer - this season. The freshmen and one sophomore have seen quite a bit of playing time over the 2011 campaign with Manny Morgado and Nico Wrobel each having started all 10 games. Matt Walbert, a local newcomer, has seven starts in 10 appearances. 

Different 11
The Panthers have used nine different starting line-ups in 12 games this season. Sophomores Nico Wrobel and Robert Iledare and freshman Manny Morgado are the only four players to earn a start in every single game (12) this season.

Men's Soccer Entertains West Virginia on Wednesday

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