Oct. 9, 2011
PITTSBURGH – Ashley Cuba recorded a hat-trick and broke the school’s all-time goals record as the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team rolled to a 6-1 win over visiting St. John’s on Sunday.
The win was the first for Pitt on Ambrose Urbanic Field, its new home field beginning this season. It was also the Panthers’ first Big East win of the season as they improved to 2-10-4 overall and 1-5-2 in the conference.
Cuba entered the match with 18 career goals, one shy of Ashley Habbel’s record of 19 from 2006-09. The junior tied the record with her first goal of the game in the eighth minute, giving Pitt a 1-0 lead. She broke the record with her second goal, helping the Panthers take a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute.
“She was very determined today. I thought she played very well. Even outside of the goal scoring, I thought her movement was great, and she also helped create for some of her teammates,” said Pitt head coach Sue-Moy Chin. “I’m really happy for her breaking the record today. I think she’s going to smash the record with having the rest of the season and another season to do it.”
Cuba wasted little time distancing herself from the players behind her on the record list. She gave Pitt a 4-0 lead with her eighth goal of the season in the 82nd minute.
The Panthers dominated the whole match, but turned it up another level near the end. Following Cuba’s final goal, Madison Gritsch scored her first goal of the season in the 84th minute, and Dana DelleFemine scored her second goal of the game in the 86th minute.
DelleFemine’s first goal was scored in the 53rd minute and gave Pitt a 3-0 lead. The scores were her first and second of the season.
“That was big for Dana, scoring the goals and especially the way she scored. They were very good goals, and that’s going to build her confidence going forward,” Chin said. “She is a very good soccer player, but she was just lacking a little bit of confidence.”
The six goals were the most by Pitt in Chin’s nine seasons with the program. The Panthers hadn’t scored six times in a match since Oct. 22, 1998, in a 6-3 win over Robert Morris.
Kristina Rioux made four saves for the Panthers. She nearly recorded her second shutout of the season, but the Red Storm’s Chelsey Martino scored with 30 seconds left in the match.
Pitt won while allowing a goal for the first time since Aug. 20, 2010. The Panthers previous seven wins were by shutout.
The Panthers were aggressive throughout the match, posting a 21-14 advantage in shots and an 11-5 edge in shots on goal.
“That’s something we addressed during training this week. We talked about why goals weren’t being scored, which was not enough shooting, inaccurate shooting, or the shots are too late because they are trying to get a perfect shot,” Chin said.
Pitt returns to action Friday at Connecticut. That match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.