PITTSBURGH – Closing out a three-game homestand at Ambrose Urbanic Field, the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team captured its first win of the 2016 season, knocking off Xavier by a score of 2-1 Sunday afternoon.
It would take freshman Alex Wright just under four minutes to score the first goal of the afternoon, as she was able to connect on a beautiful save from Sarah Krause. Bri Shingary dumped a pass to the far side of the net and a diving save from Krause kept the ball in play. The pass would land right on the foot of Wright who kicked the ball up and over the left side of the net to give Pitt a 1-0 advantage.
“Alex is used to playing in a central position, so she is in a new role playing wide,” said head coach Greg Miller.
“She was saying earlier how she doesn’t get the ball enough and I just said that you have to make the most of the opportunities that you get in the wide position. We talked a lot about framing the goal and so her second goal was off of Seyla’s (Perez) initial shot and she was in the right spot at the right time and was disciplined enough to get there. Kudos to her for just sticking with it despite being a little frustrated being in a new position. She’s a freshman and she’ll continue to learn as the season goes.”
The Panthers would extend their lead in the 25th minute, as Wright recorded her second goal of the game. When a shot from Seyla Perez coughed up a rebound off of the hands of Xavier goalie Rachel Piccus, Wright was able to track down the ball and sneak it past Piccus directly in front of the net to give Pitt a 2-0 lead.
Despite being outshot 10-5 in the first period of play, Pitt would head into the break with the 2-0 lead.
In the second half, Xavier got one back, scoring in the 60th minute as Samantha Dewey was able to dribble the ball past the Pitt defenders to put the ball behind goalkeeper Taylor Francis.
That would be the final offensive action of the game for either team, as Pitt was able to secure the 2-1 win.
The Musketeers outscored Pitt 16-9 but veteran keeper Francis was able to come up with six saves to assist the Panther defense. Another gritty game for both teams, Cheyenne Hudson and Xavier’s Maddie Tierney were each awarded yellow cards on the afternoon.
With the victory the Panthers improve to 1-2-1 on the season. They’ll kick off a California road trip on Friday, taking on UC Santa Barbara before moving on to face UC Irvine on Sunday, Sept. 4.
“It’s a relief to be honest,” added Miller. “After such a good start at Michigan, we struggled a little bit the last couple of games. It’s a typical Sunday game where it’s hot, playing two games in three days is just a real battle. It’s a mental battle as well. Credit to Xavier. They had a good game plan and I thought they really took it to us at the end of the first half. I think we were lucky to have a two-goal lead at halftime and we did what we had to do in the second half to get out of here with a win.”