from Pitt, Robert Morris, Duquesne and West Virginia athletic department reports
It was a busy Labor Day weekend for a number of the local Division I teams, wrapping up with three games on Labor Day.
Here’s a look back at how each team did, starting off with a look at a big showdown between the two very highly ranked women’s teams in our region — Penn State and West Virginia.
WVU TOPS NO. 1 RANKED PENN STATE
West Virginia University women’s soccer team started the season at the nation’s number one ranked team, but after a loss at Virginia, they relinquished the top spot to Penn State. On Friday, they had a chance to make their claim that they should still be in the conversation as one of the top teams in the country.
For the first time in program history, WVU defeated a top-ranked squad in Morgantown, as the No. 6 Mountaineers earned a 2-1 victory over No. 1 Penn State on Friday at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
First-half goals from forwards Sh’Nia Gordon and Lauren Segalla, combined with a strong showing from the backline, pushed the Mountaineers (3-1) to the monumental victory.
“Tonight was a great growth opportunity for us to see if we could hang on to a lead,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “I was proud of the way we handled PSU’s overloads and the numbers they were sending forward.
“I would say we really came together (in the first half) and moved the ball well. I thought we were much better. We still have a lot of work to do, but Penn State is a great team – they’re No. 1 in the country. For us to put two on them right away was pretty amazing. “
With the victory, WVU improves to 2-2 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams. The Mountaineers are now 2-1 against top-10 teams this season and 19-13-3 all-time against top-10 opponents.
“We talked about what kind of legacy this team wants to leave,” Izzo-Brown said. “This was a moment. When I talk about this team, this win will be a moment I always bring up.”
Scoreless after 15 minutes, the Mountaineers relied on quality passing to generate their first goal of the evening.
Senior forward Michaela Abam brought the ball up the left side of the field in the 17th minute before sending it down the line. Junior forward Hannah Abraham gave chase and immediately sent it into Gordon. The junior used her inside foot to redirect the ball from 12-yards out toward the upper right corner.
Segalla’s game-winner in the 37th minute also was a result of a great set-up. Senior forward Heather Kaleiohi played with the PSU defense wide right of the box before sending a cross into the waiting Mountaineer freshman. After settling the ball, the Salisbury, Connecticut, native took a sliding shot from 18-yards out that sailed past PSU’s Rose Chandler and into the upper left pocket for her first career goal.
“You couldn’t ask for a bigger debut from a freshman,” Izzo-Brown added. “Lauren has been working hard and trying to figure out the adjustment from club to college soccer. I’m so proud and excited for her.”
PSU cut into WVU’s lead in the 77th minute, as WVU junior defender Vanessa Flores was whistled for a foul on Laura Freigang inside the box. Midfielder Emily Ogle connected on the ensuing penalty kick.
With their lead cut, the Mountaineer defense locked in, allowing PSU only two more shots, both by Freigang in the 82nd minute.
The Mountaineers held the Nittany Lions to a season-low three shots on-goal. Prior to tonight, PSU had tallied three scores in each match this season.
With the win, WVU evens the all-time series against PSU (3-1) to 7-7-2.
WVU followed up Friday’s big win with a 2-0 home win on Sunday against Wright State, in a match which the prevented a shot attempt.
“We talked pregame about what we wanted to accomplish and how we wanted to grow as a team,” Izzo-Brown said. “Having the capabilities to do this speaks volumes of the back line and what our defensive mentality has been.”
The Mountaineers close their three-week homestand next weekend with a pair of matches at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. WVU kicks against No. 13 Duke on Friday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m., and against Richmond on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m.
PITT MEN PICK UP PAIR OF WINS
Pitt men’s soccer team picked up its first two wins of the season this weekend, starting with a 2-0 victory against Longwood, as previously reported here. They followed that up with a second win of the season after defeating Loyola (Md.), 1-0, Monday night at Ridley Athletic Complex.
With the win, the Panthers move to 2-2-0 on the season, while the Greyhounds drop to 2-1-1 on the year.
Although out-shooting Pitt through the 90 minutes, 8-4, the Panthers found the back of the net in the 31st minute. Senior Robby Dambrot sent freshman Alexander Dexter a long ball into the center of the box and Dexter placed it in the upper left corner.
In the second half, Pitt was only able to get off three shots and draw one corner but it would be enough to hold off the Greyhounds.
Dexter was aggressive on the attack for the Panthers as he led the way with three total shots. In goal, redshirt sophomore Mikal Outcaltmade two saves. Outcalt leaves Baltimore with his second clean sheet of the season.
Pitt opens ACC play when it hosts North Carolina Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
PITT WOMEN LOSE FOR FIRST TIME
The University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team suffered its first defeat of the season Sunday afternoon, falling to Illinois State 1-0 at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
“I thought we had a good start, a solid start,” said head coach Greg Miller. “The first 15 or 20 minutes or so, I thought we were okay. We created some chances. We just have to do a better job in those moments of capitalizing against a team that does not know how to give up. As the half went on, in the first half, we started to back off a little bit. They started to win some more balls and started to get into a rhythm.
“They had the better part of the second half of the first 45. We had a costly giveaway that cost us a goal. In the second half, I don’t think we did a good enough job of making proper adjustments. Frankly, we just got outworked today and that’s the end of the story.”
It was a back-and-forth game for the majority of the first half as the two teams seemed evenly matched from the start. Illinois State would strike first, however, as a goal in the 44th minute by Sarah Lafayette would give the Redbirds a 1-0 lead at the break.
It was a defensive battle in the second half, as both teams struggled to find opportunities. Pitt was out-shot in the game, 12-10, and was unable to find the back of the net with the final score remaining 1-0. Panthers’ goalie Katelyn McEachern recorded seven saves in the loss.
Sarah Krause led the offense with three shots, two on goal. Jess McCoppin added two shots, while Alli Higgs recorded one shot on goal. With the defeat, Pitt falls to 3-1-2 on the season and 2-1-0 at home.
Pitt heads to the road for the next three contests, traveling to Kent State (Sept. 7) and Nebraska (Sept 10) before opening ACC play at Wake Forest (Sept. 15).
DUQUESNE MEN & WOMEN TEAMS OFF FOR WEEKEND
Both of Duquesne’s teams took the Labor Day weekend off, last playing late last week, as reported here, including the Dukes men’s squad suffering a 3-1 loss to Marshall on Thursday. The Dukes (1-2), next play at Bucknell on Saturday (7 p.m.).
The Duquesne women followed up a 3-0 loss to WVU, with a Friday night 1-0 win over defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State.
The Dukes return to action Sept. 8 when they host Xavier at 7:00 p.m. at Rooney Field.
RMU WOMEN BOUNCE BACK
After starting the season without a win in its first three games, the Robert Morris women’s team have bounced back to win two of its last three games including a 3-2 win at Howard on Sunday.
A brace from Jane Schleicher and 10th minute goal by Kristina Kelley proved to be the difference in the Robert Morris University women’s soccer team’s 3-2 victory over Howard this afternoon from Greene Stadium.
Robert Morris (2-4-0, 0-0-0 NEC) held a 15-12 edge in shots over Howard (1-4-0, 0-0-0 SWAC), highlighted by a 9-4 difference over the opening 45 minutes. The Colonials found the back of the net twice to the Bison’s one in the first half, essentially deciding the contest.
RMU MEN REMAIN WINLESS AFTER ANOTHER HEARTBREAKING LOSS
After two previous overtime losses, including losing a 3-0 lead at Canisius to lose 4-3 on Thursday, Robert Morris’ men’s team returned home to another heart-breaking result on Sunday, losing 2-1 to Marshall.
Despite equalizing in the 82nd minute with a goal by Zac Sherman, RMU couldn’t hold off the Thundering Herd, as a rebound tally with 59 seconds remaining was the difference.
RMU picked up the tying goal late in the second half as McIvor used a through pass to connect with a racing Sherman, who then one-touched it under the goalkeeper’s legs for his first tally of the season.
The Thundering Herd turned on the pressure following Sherman’s goal and were rewarded with the winner at 89:01. Dion Stergiotis fired a shot that caught the crossbar and bounced back down in front of the goal line, leaving a big rebound for Pedro Dolabella to head in with 59 seconds left.
Robert Morris (0-4) is back on the road next weekend as it is set to take part in the Mayor’s Cup. The Colonials will play Niagara on Friday, Sept. 8 at 4:00 p.m. and Fairfield on Sunday, Sept. 10 at noon.