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FINAL: West Virginia 2, Pitt 1 (men)

FINAL: West Virginia 2, Pitt 1 (men)

Backyard Brawl – Pitt vs West Virginia (men)

Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium – Tuesday, October 23 – 7 p.m.

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KEY STORYLINES 

The Backyard Brawl returns!

Tuesday’s matchup marks the 49th edition of the Backyard Brawl, as the renewed rivalry returns to Morgantown for the first time since 2010. WVU owns a 33-10-5 all-time record against Pitt and is undefeated in the last seven matches in the series at DDSS.

Last September, Pitt exploded with a goal scoring outburst against West Virginia, earning a 7-0 decision over the Mountaineers. The victory was Pitt’s first over West Virginia since 2000, while its seven-goal win margin was the highest in program history against the Mountaineers and highest against any team since 2013.

Pitt’s head coach Jay Vidovich owns a perfect 3-0-0 mark against WVU from his time at both Wake Forest and Pitt.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Pitt is another excellent team on a schedule that’s been challenging all year long,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We are looking forward to Tuesday night’s challenge of a top ACC opponent.”

MORE ON PITT

The Panthers (7-8-0) are in sixth place in the ACC Coastal Division, with a 2-5 record. Pitt ranks No. 43 in the country with 24 goals, while UP is sixth in the ACC with 19 assists and seventh with 67 points and 2.73 saves per game.

Pitt dropped its last match to No. 14 Duke, 3-1, Friday, Oct. 19 in Durham, N.C. Duke used a three-goal first half to separate itself from the Panthers early. Pitt notched a goal of its own in the second half of play, but was unable to catch the Blue Devils before time expired. Sophomore Edward Kizza collected his 13th goal of the season in the 58th minute after receiving a pass from freshman Rodrigo Almeida. Kizza, senior Javi Perez, sophomore Alexander Dexter and redshirt freshman Fiorre Mane each recorded two shots apiece, with senior Robby Dambrot adding one shot in the match.

MORE ON WVU 

Winners of two in a row and eight of their last 10, the Mountaineers (10-5-0) are coming off a 5-1 victory over No. 20 SIU Edwardsville on Saturday to remain perfect in Mid-American Conference play. A dominating second half helped West Virginia maintain its place atop the Mid-American Conference with a 5-1 victory over No. 20 SIU Edwardsville on Oct. 20. In a matchup between the top two teams in the conference standings, the Mountaineers scored four second-half goals, as the Cougars saw their eight-match unbeaten streak come to an end.

West Virginia remains in first place in the MAC, collecting a 3-0-0 record and nine points, with two league matches remaining. WVU is 6-1-0 at home this season and unbeaten in 16 of its last 20 nonconference contests at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The Mountaineers are receiving votes in this week’s TopDrawerSoccer.com rankings, while the remaining polls are released on Tuesday.

WVU leads the MAC in nearly every statistical category, and ranks No. 14 in the NCAA in assists (33), No. 16 in total points (89), No. 19 in save percentage (.815) and No. 25 in goals (28). WVU also paces the conference and is in the top-55 nationally in goals per game (1.87), saves per game (4.40) and goals-against average (0.998).

Junior midfielder Sebastian Garcia-Herreros ranks No. 18 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the MAC with seven total assists, while senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc’s five are fifth-most in the conference. Piatczyc leads the league and is No. 30 nationally with three game-winning goals, and junior midfielder Andres Muriel Albino also is No. 30 in the country in shot accuracy (.571). Junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch and Piatczyc are both fifth in the conference in goals (5) and points (13), respectively. Additionally, Piatczyc’s assist on WVU’s first goal on Saturday night gives him 30 in his career, extending his school-record mark.

In goal, sophomore Steven Tekesky ranks No. 15 nationally with a MAC-best 64 total saves, while he also paces the league in save percentage (.810) and saves per game (4.27). He is second in the conference in shutouts (5), goals-against average (1.003) and minutes played (1345:36). Tekesky’s eight career shutouts are No. 9 all-time in WVU program history.

UP NEXT

Both teams will follow-up the Backyard Brawl with their respective Senior Nights. The Panthers will close out their regular season as they host No. 16 Notre Dame on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field, while West Virginia takes on Bowling Green on Friday, Oct. 26.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, and more. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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