From University of Pittsburgh report / Kelly Dumrauf
Head coach Randy Waldrum earned his first victory as a Panther and 400th in his career Friday night as the University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team defeated Ohio 2-1 in the season opener at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
“Anytime you get a win, you’re excited about it,” Waldrum said. “Obviously, we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. I think that we can certainly perform a lot better, but I think that the one thing we are happy about in trying to change the culture here is that the girls found a way to fight back after going down to get the win. That’s really all that you can ask, so we’ll take that positive from this game and we’ll go back to the drawing board and get better for Sunday.”
It was a defensive battle early as both teams remained evenly matched until Ohio broke up the stalemate with a goal in the 21st minute, as the Bobcats grabbed the early advantage.
Freshman Anna Rico tallied her first career goal with a late beauty in the 42nd minute, as fellow freshman Dixon Veltri recorded the assist, sending both teams into the break tied at 1-1.
Redshirt senior Ashley Moreira showed her leadership as the Panthers came out storming in the second half. A perfect cross pass from Mikayla Schmidt would land on the foot of Moreira a few yards away from the Ohio keeper as the stealthy midfielder put the Panthers up 2-1.
Redshirt sophomore keeper Amaia Pena would come up with some clutch saves late in the game as the Panthers held on for the 2-1 victory.
Ohio outshot the Panthers 15-12 with many of them coming in the waning minutes of the game, as Pena tallied six saves in the contest. Rico led the team with four shots, while both Juliana Vazquez and Bel van Noorden added a pair.
The victory was the 400th career win for Waldrum as he is the ninth winningest coach in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history.
“It just means that I’m old and that I’ve been doing this a long time, I think,” Waldrum said. “I’m proud of it, obviously, and I’m sure some day when I finish, I’ll look back and reflect on all of it. I’m proud of the girls and I am really proud of the fact that I’m here. It was exciting that it was that win that got that milestone for me. To be able to do it here at Pitt on our first game is kind of special, so it will be a game certainly that I will always remember.”
Pitt returns to action Sunday, hosting Morehead State at 1 p.m. as Pitt’s four-game homestand continues