Pitt (2-8-2, 0-4-1 ACC) vs Penn State (4-6-1, 2-3-0 Big Ten)
Tuesday, October 11
Jeffrey Field (University Park, PA) – 7 p.m.
Pitt Men’s Soccer on Twitter – @Pitt_MSOC
PSU Men’s Soccer on Twitter – @PENNSTATEMSOC
KEY STORYLINES / WHAT’S AT STAKE
And we thought it was a long time between meetings between the Pennsylvania schools in Football (American football that is), these two programs have not met on the pitch in 22 years.
It’s been a tough first season for the Panthers under the guidance of one of the most successful coaches in college soccer, Jay Vidovich, who returned to coaching the college game after a one-year stint with the Portland Timbers in Major League Soccer and coaching their USL team, T2.
The Panthers have battled hard, competing in most every ACC match, but have been losing close games. The Pitt program has yet to win an ACC match, but under Vidovich’s direction, it’s just a matter of time.
Both teams are trying to snap three game losing streaks.
For the Nittany Lions, it’s been a bit of a down season thus far for a program that has recently won Big 10 titles and has reached the NCAA Tournament.
It’s pretty fascinating that these two schools have not played since 1994, but prior to that, they have a pretty rich history playing each other.
In 1994, the Nittany Lions earned a 4-0 victory over the Panthers in early November.
The Blue and White carry a 22-6-3 all-time advantage over Pitt and have won eight-straight matches against the Panthers. Furthermore, Penn State has not lost to Pittsburgh since the 1978 season when it fell 2-0 on the road.
MORE ON THE PANTHERS
– Pitt’s last win came at the end of September when it defeated Longwood 2-1 on the road but has since lost to No. 1 Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and most recently Boston College.
-Pitt has struggled to find the back of the net this season, scoring just nine goals and being shut out in seven of its eight losses.
-Freshman Luca Mellor continues to lead the Panthers with six points after scoring his third goal of the season Friday, Sept. 23, at Duke.
– Senior Matt Venanzi (two goals) and junior Roosevelt Angulo (one goal, two assists) have four points apiece, good for second-best on the team.
– Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt has appeared in all 12 games and has made 56 saves (.789).
– The Panthers are in their fourth season as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
MORE ON THE NITTANY LIONS
– Penn State enters the match after suffering a 1-0 loss to then-ranked No. 9 Indiana in Bloomington. The Nittany Lions have suffered a three-game scoring drought after scoring multiple goals in three-straight games this season. Prior to being shut out against Temple, at Michigan and at Indiana, Penn State had tallied six goals in three matches and picked up two Big Ten wins in that time period.
– The Nittany Lions are paced by senior forward and 2015 First Team All-Big Ten selection Connor Maloney with 11 points (four goals, three assists).
– In goal, time has been split between redshirt junior Evan Finney and freshman Arie Ammann. Finney has played and started in six games, while Ammann has played in seven and started six. Both keepers have made 23 saves apiece.
– The Nittany Lions are coached by Bob Warming, who’s been in State College since 2009. Warming won back-to-back Big Ten titles with the Nittany Lions in 2012 and 2013, when he won Big Ten Coach of the Year honors both seasons.
Pittsburgh-area players with Nittany Lions include Brennan Ireland, who played one year at Fox Chapel, played one year of high school soccer before moving to the Washington D.C. area to play for the D.C. United Youth Academy.
The only other member of the Penn State roster from the Pittsburgh area is Ibrahima Kouyate, who was injured halfway through the 2015 season after playing in six games. He’s yet to play in 2016. Koyate was a standout at Obama Academy where he was named All-WPIAL MVP, all-region, all-state and All-American in his senior year, Kouyate was named Pennsylvania State Player of the Year honors in his final season. He was also a member of Century United team that won three PA State Cup titles.
Former Penn State men’s soccer assistant coach Michael Behonick makes his return to Jeffrey Field, but this time he will be in Pittsburgh gear.
The former goalkeeper coach at Penn State is now an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach for the Panthers under Vidovich. Behonick served on the Penn State coaching staff for two seasons under head coach Bob Warming.