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Amanda West scores seventh goal in Panthers victory over Saint Joseph

The Pittsburgh Panthers celebrate a goal at Ambrose Urbanic Field. Photo courtesy of Matt Hawley/Pitt Athletics.

Amanda West scores seventh goal in Panthers victory over Saint Joseph

Oakland, Pa. — Randy Waldrum knows that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Each and every match, he’s seeing progress from the Panthers women’s soccer team. He has 17 freshman and four transfer athletes. Before ACC play starts up, Waldrum saw that the Panthers scheduled quality competitions against solid teams. One of those teams is Saint Joseph’s, an Atlantic 10 Conference team.

It was the first meeting between the two programs at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The Panthers were able to come away with the 2-0 victory, after a scoreless halftime.

Amanda West, the standout freshman from Canada, found the back of the net in the 73rd minute. She was brought down inside the penalty area, and the referee signaled for a kick from the mark. West lined up her shot and sent it past freshman goalkeeper Emily Cuccio.

However, the Panthers weren’t done.

Icelandic international Margret Arnadottír scored the game-winning goal in the 85th minute. It was her first goal in a Panthers uniform. For Waldrum, it was special to see the freshman score, as she’s been battling injury and working her way back to 100 percent fitness. Waldrum predicted that she would go 60 minutes against Saint Joseph, but instead went 40 minutes.

“I think she’s been trying to find her way into the team a little bit and the way we want to play,” Waldrum said after the match. “She did well the first half. We weren’t as deep as we thought we would be, so we had to make more changes than I anticipated in the first half. Otherwise, I think she would’ve been physically able to go and give us 60. But, the 40 she gave us was really good. I’m really happy for her to get her first goal.”

“We need that.”

West continues great run of form

West’s goal was the seventh of her young Panthers career.

Before the match began, Waldrum said that when recruiting her, she was scoring goals in almost every match the coaching staff attended. Waldrum hoped that would correlate and transition into the collegiate game, and it certainly has. West’s goals have come in the last six matches. She scored a hat-trick in the home opener against Loyola Marymount.

“We want to get the program to a point where she’s got enough support that the normal would be scoring double digits every year for your team,” Waldrum said. “She’s off to a good start and she’s doing what we though she could do for us. She’s been everything we’ve hoped for.”

West registered five shots, with all of them on frame. She forced Cuccio to make four saves against her and the goalkeeper finished the match with six saves. One of her saves against West was a point-blank reaction save.

West said after the match that there were shots she should’ve buried. However, she’s glad that the Panthers earned another win.

“At the end of the first half, we obviously had a couple of chances,” West said. “I had a couple chances I should have buried, for sure. So, in the second half, I was determined to put one in the back of the net. We needed that to win the game.”

West said she couldn’t pinpoint exactly what works in Waldrum’s system, but is enjoying finding goals and playing in Pittsburgh.

“We just have to keep going,” West said. “At the end of the day, I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win.”

Freshman goalkeeper makes debut

Caitlyn Lazzarini made her debut for the Panthers in goal. The freshman from Nazareth earned a clean sheet in her debut, making three saves against Dakota Mills and Sofia Filippo.

Waldrum said that he wanted to get her minutes to see how she did in game action. The second-year head coach said that Amaia Pena is still the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper. But, he wanted to see who would fill in as backup.

Last week, he gave Katherine Robinson the start over Massachusetts.

“I want to know that if something happens to Amaia, we have a clear cut on who’s two and who’s three,” Waldrum explained. “My feeling is that we don’t want to wait until we get into conference play and not be ready. It’s more to get some nerves out and see how she does in a live game. It’s more of getting them game experience.”

Waldrum did not give any indication on who will start against Virginia Commonwealth University.

What’s Next?

The Panthers have a quick turnaround this week.

On Thursday, the team will return home to face off against VCU. The match will begin at 7 p.m. EST, and is available to watch on the ACC Network.

The sport of soccer is Rachael McKriger's area of expertise. McKriger covers Steel City FC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now and provides various columns, with occasional work with PITT Women's Soccer. Elsewhere, McKriger covers the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Her coverage expanded to Last Word on Soccer in March 2018, where she began National Women's Soccer League coverage and U.S. Women's National Team reporting. McKriger is a member of the official NWSL Media Association and the North American Soccer Reporters.

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