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#PGHSoccer Women's College Round-Up: WVU-Penn St and Pitt-Michigan play to Opening Night Draws

From various reports

#2 Penn St 1    #5 WestVirginia 1

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – In a match-up of a pair of regional NCAA women’s soccer top five teams, defending National Champion Penn State tied West Virginia 1-1 on a night where the 2015 Championship banner was raised.
Down a goal late and playing in front of a record-crowd of 5,791 fans, the No. 5-ranked West Virginia women’s soccer team pulled out a 1-1 draw at No. 2-ranked Penn State tonight, in the teams’ season opener at Jeffrey Field.
PSU broke scoreless play in the 51st minute, converting on a misplayed ball by WVU in the Mountaineers’ backfield. Freshman forward Laura Freigang pounced on the ball just inside the box and sent her bending shot toward the left post and out of Foster’s reach.
WVU Junior forward Michaela Abam earned the equalizer in the 76th minute, and freshman Rylee Foster played lights out in her first career game, earning nine saves, including three in the first overtime period, to preserve the tie.
Celebrating their NCAA title this evening, the Nittany Lions (0-0-1) earned an edge in shots. Foster’s nine saves were matched by PSU’s six stops, credited to freshman Amanda Dennis.
The Mountaineers (0-0-1) earned a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Greensburg Central Catholic grad Frannie Crouse started for the Nitanny Lions.

 Pitt 2 Michigan 2

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – A gritty match between the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team and Michigan ended in a draw Saturday night, as the two squads battled to a 2-2 tie under the lights at U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Alex Wright and Alli Higgs were the goal scorers for the Panthers as Pitt and Michigan clashed for 110 minutes in the season opener. Both goals were the first in the careers of freshman Wright and sophomore Higgs.

“I’m really proud of the team for them to set a precedent of how hard we’re going to work and for battling on the road to get a point against a very good Michigan team,” said head coach Greg Miller.
“I thought Alex Wright and Alli Higgs were really good for us, both scoring their first career collegiate goals. I’m a little disappointed that we couldn’t come away with the win, but I think that, at the end of the day, we’re very content with a tie against that Michigan team on the road in our first game of the season.”

Michigan tallied the first goal of the evening in the 22nd minute to take an early 1-0 lead. Reilly Martin took a free kick from 45 yards out, sending the ball over the head of goalkeeper Taylor Francis.
The Wolverines would not hold the lead for long, however, as freshman Wright recorded the first goal of the season for the Panthers just 12 minutes later, placing a shot past Michigan’s Megan Hinz from the left side of the box.
Wright’s goal would be the final offense of the first period for both squads, as the Panthers and Wolverines headed into halftime tied at 1-1.
Pitt kept the pressure on early in the second half as an Emily Pietrangelo shot in the 52nd minute forced Hinz to make a save. More than 10 minutes ticked off the clock before the next shot would be recorded, as Francis stopped a kick from Nicky Waldeck.
Both teams would exchange scoring opportunities with each defense remaining strong as time ticked away. In the 85th minute of action, Higgs gave the Panthers their first lead of the evening, converting on a free kick on the left sideline as the ball bounced past the Michigan goalie.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the lead would not last long as the Wolverines would force overtime with a goal in the 89th minute. Ani Sarkisian found a loose ball in the corner, tying the contest up at 2-2.
Pitt would have a pair of solid opportunities in the 98th minute when a sho hit the crossbar, followed by a header from Taylor Pryce that would force Hinz to make a save. Freshman Bel Van Noorden sent a shot high over the net in the final minutes of action as the two teams remained tied, forcing a second overtime.
In the second round of extra time, veteran keeper Francis came up with back-to-back saves in the 113th and 114th minutes to keep the Panthers in the contest. A final save from Francis in the waning seconds of the contest would be the final opportunity for either team as the match would conclude in a 2-2 draw.

“We gave up a really bad goal and then came back with a good one on our side to tie it up,” added Miller. “We scored our second goal in a similar fashion to their first one, but then they scored late to force overtime. We had a couple of really good chances in overtime, but unfortunately couldn’t capitalize on them.”

On the evening, Michigan out-shot the Panthers by a margin of 15-9, forcing Francis to make seven saves, compared to just three from Hinz. Gal scorers Wright and Higgs each made one attempt on the evening, both finding the back of the net. Van Noorden and Pryce added two shots in Pitt’s offensive output.

Youngstown State 1 Robert Morris 0

Robert Morris dropped its first game of the season against Youngstown State 1-0, as Kyler Lum‘s goal in the 63rd minute was the difference — as John Kowalski’s club begin the season 0-1.
Here are the highlights of the game.

Central Michigan 2 Duquesne 0

It wasn’t the start to the season that the defending Atlantic 10 champs had envisioned.
Central Michigan’s Alexis Pelafas scored twice to lead the Chippewas to a 2-0 victory over the Duquesne women’s soccer team in their season opener Friday night on Rooney Field.
The first scoring attempt of the night came in the 26th minute from Pelafas, but Haley Yow‘s block kept the game scoreless. In the 42ndminute a pass from CMU’s midfielder Marle Bringard allowed Pelafas to find the back of the net.
Linnea Faccenda had a chance to score in the 48th minute, but the shot from 10 yards out grazed the crossbar.
A shot from point blank range by Central Michigan forward Madison Costner was saved by Kyra Murphy, keeping the score 1-0 in the 67th minute. An insurance goal from Pelafas in the 78th minute would lead the Chippewas to a final score of 2-0.
Murphy and Central Michigan’s Kristen Knutson each had four saves for the night.

“We allowed them too many counterattacks which is how they got their first goal. You’ll have some of that in the first game of the season, but certainly nothing we cannot fix,” Al Alvine, Duquesne coach..
“We have a day to recover and a day to get ready for Pitt on Sunday, which is going to be a very difficult game. We have a resilient bunch of kids and I’m sure we will bounce back.”

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. 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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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