University of Pittsburgh’s men’s soccer program had never won a conference match since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013.
That was, until Friday night.
With goals by Edward Kizza and Colin Brezniak, along with a solid defensive effort, the Panthers (5-5, 1-3 in ACC) hung on for a 2-1 win over 21st ranked Syracuse at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday.
The win snapped a 35 game winless streak for Pitt in ACC play, and a 44 game streak without a win in conference play going back to 2011, when they were still in the Big East.
Playing with all kinds of confidence after a 7-0 trashing of West Virginia on Tuesday, the Panthers took the lead in the first half as a nice build up of possession led to a chipped ball by midfielder Pol Planellas into the center of the box for Edward Kizza.
Kizza lined a one-time shot into the right side of the goal — and the Panthers were up 1-0 in the 30th minute.
Led by a pair of veteran center backs, Tariq Hill and Bryce Creegan, the Panthers kept Syracuse’s dangerous attack limited to shots from distance for much of the match, as goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt made six saves.
The Panthers would capitalize in the 79th minute on a brilliant individual effort by forward Colin Brezniak.
After receiving a ball on the left side, Brezniak was able to get a solid first touch on the ball, and played the ball forward to himself into the left corner of the penalty box, then delivered a bending shot into the top right corner to give Pitt a 2-0 lead.
After scoring the goal, Brezniak was mobbed by his teammates in an exhilarating celebration near the sideline.
Syracuse would cut the lead in the 87th minute, on a free kick from near midfield, Johannes Pieles made a perfectly timed run on the ball played into the box, finishing it off with a header that went into the back of the net.
The Panthers held on, despite a tense-filled final two minutes with one-goal lead as Syracuse continued to press for the equalizer.
Finally, after more than four seasons in the ACC, under the direction of second year coach, Jay Vidovich, finally found themselves in the win column.
Here are some additional notable milestones from Friday:
- Pitt’ ended its winless streak in conference play which stretched all the way back to the 2011 season. The Panthers’ last conference win came when they were in Big East, beating Seton Hall, 2-0, on October 8, 2011.
- It was also Pitt’s first win against a ranked opponent since beating Rutgers in 2008.
Pitt returns to action Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 23rd ranked Columbia in New York City at 7 p.m