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Big Backyard Brawl win gives Pitt 'hope and belief'

From Pitt/WVU Athletic Department reports
I don’t think even the biggest Pitt supporters saw this one coming.
On Tuesday night, Pitt’s men’s soccer team bulldozed West Virginia 7-0 at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

“This win gives us hope and belief,” said second-year head coach Jay Vidovich. “Thing went our way tonight and hopefully we learn from this. We need to continue to play disciplined, stay together and know that we can overcome anything.”

It was one of those scorelines, I had to look twice. No, three times, before I could actually believe it.

Then I looked at my calendar — just to be sure it wasn’t April 1st.
Pitt wasn’t fooling around on Tuesday night.  From the 33rd to the 66th minutes, they peppered West Virginia’s exhausted back line and goalkeepers for seven unanswered goals.

Six different Panthers contributed goals in the win including sophomore Alex Peperak, senior Pol Planellas, junior Joshua Gaspari, freshman Alexander Dexter and redshirt freshman Tim Ekpone, while freshman Edward Kizzasent in two of his own.

In goal, redshirt sophomore Mikal Outcalt recorded his fourth career shutout with the win.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t have my team ready to play today,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “I take 100 percent responsibility for our performance. It looked like we were a team playing its fifth game in 14 days. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, we still have to be better. We’ll get these guys reenergized, we’ll get them refocused and we’ll be ready for Sunday.

Peperak got things going for Pitt in the 33rd minute when he chased down a header in the box from redshirt senior Mauriq Hill and sent it past WVU goalkeeper Stephen Banick for his first collegiate goal.

Planellas wasted little time tacking on the second goal of the night as he blasted the ball into the back of the net from nearly 40 yards out in the 36th minute.

Three minutes later, Dexter sent Gaspari a perfect ball up the right side setting up Gaspari for Pitt’s third goal of the night and his second on the season.

Dexter added a goal of his own in the 42nd minute, number two of the season, thanks to junior Javi Perez.

Kizza opened the second half ready to fire as he netted back-to-back goals in an eight-minute span. His first goal was thanks to Gaspari who fired in the ball from the right side to Kizza in the middle, locating the back of the right side of the net.

Entering the 54th minute, Planellas sent a ball up the left side to Kizza who drew the keeper and poked it to the right side of the back of the net for Pitt’s sixth goal of the night and his third of the season.

The Panthers recorded their seventh and final goal in the 66th minute off the foot of Ekpone who put in a ball from Dexter while on the right side of the box.

#BackyardBrawl Notes

– Pitt’s win marks the first victory over the Mountaineers since 2000.

– Largest win-margin over West Virginia in program history.

– Largest win margin for the Panthers since their 9-0 win over Howard in 2013.

– 28th time in program history scoring seven or more goals.

– First time scoring seven goals in a game since 1998.

– The Panthers haven’t scored four goals in an opening half since a 2013 win over Howard.

The Panthers resume action Friday, Sept. 29 when Syracuse makes the trip to Pittsburgh for a 7 p.m. ACC match-up. The Mountaineers return home to host No. 20 Pacific on Sunday, Oct. 1, at noon ET at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.


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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