It could be argued that the Pitt Women’s Soccer team should be 3-0-3, at the very least, on the season, but late goals by Dartmouth and Massachusetts have the Panthers record at 3-2-1 after six matches into the 2019 season.
Although they haven’t played a league match yet, the Panthers sit with the 12th best record early among ACC teams. Six ACC women’s teams are currently undefeated, and untied, as Boston College, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Virginia Tech are 6-0 and Louisville is 5-0.
Freshman Amanda West is having a great start in her first season with the Panthers and if she keeps this up there should definitely be some awards coming her way as she has scored seven goals, with all three game-winners, and has assisted on three goals.
Red-shirt Senior Juliana Vazquez has a goal and two assists early on this season as well.
Pitt is coming off a 2-0 victory over St. Joseph’s Sunday afternoon with goals from Amanda West and Margret Arnadottir.
“I think it’s the first time all season we’ve put 90 minutes together,” Pitt Head Coach Randy Waldrum told Rachael McKriger after the game Sunday. “We’ve been getting close the last few weeks of putting 70 minutes, 80 minutes, sometimes maybe even 82, 83, but we’ve just seemed to have that two-to-three minutes lapse in these last couple games that we just made silly mistakes and tonight I thought I told them after the game, for a bunch of amateurs I thought it was a really professional performance.”
Let’s take a look ahead to the match-ups for the Panthers coming up this week starting with a home match against VCU Thursday night.
Thursday – vs VCU (7 pm)
The Rams will be coming into Pittsburgh Thursday with a record of 4-1-1 and coming off a 4-3 loss at home to Old Dominion on Sunday.
“We’re a very veteran team, we have a lot of experience and it’s been a growth process to get here,” said VCU Head Coach Lindsey Martin in a season preview video on the VCU Athletics YouTube page. “It’s really nice and encouraging as a coach to see your players from within lead the culture and own what it is that we want to be. Our goals remain the same, we want to win the A-10, we believe we can win the A-10. We’ve obviously been close the past two years, but haven’t got it done.”
VCU started the season 4-0 with shutout victories against High Point and Loyola (Md.) as well as a 5-1 victory over Longwood and a 2-1 victory over UNC Wilmington.
“We intentionally set ourselves up with a tough non-conference schedule,” said Martin in the season preview video. “We want to play some of the better teams out of different conferences regionally so that we can be prepared come our conference season and I think that the teams that we’ve scheduled are going to give us good games and we certainly respect all of our opponents, but we feel comfortable and confident that we can win every game we play this year.”
Pitt will be the second ACC opponent the Rams will face this season as they traveled to Wake Forest last Thursday and played to a scoreless draw.
“We know we got a real tough test on Thursday, we’ve got a lot of respect for VCU,” said Pitt Head Coach Waldrum Sunday. “They had a great result last week against Wake Forest on the road, so we know they’re not going to come in here intimidated by any means and we just got to have this kind of performance to make sure we have the opportunity to win.”
The Rams have a balanced attack of scorers as Emma Kershner, Idelys Vazquez, Lyndsey Gutzmer, Susanna Friedrichs and Lana Golob have two goals each so far this season. Kershner also leads the way in assists with two as well.
This match will be available to view on ESPN+ if you can’t make it to the match Thursday night. We’ll have our usual matchday blog and post-game recap available on Pittsburgh Soccer Now.
Sunday @ Liberty (1 pm)
After the home game against VCU Thursday, the Panthers will hit the road and travel to Lynchburg, Virginia to take on the LIberty Flames Sunday.
The Flames will have a match at Elon before hosting Pitt on Sunday, but they are currently 1-4-1 in 2019 with a 4-2 victory over William & Mary and a 1-1 draw against Old Dominion.
There has been a lot of turnover in recent years for the Liberty Women’s Soccer program and this year there motto is “All In” as they look to establish a successful culture.
“Really kind of took off after our first fall season,” said Liberty Head Coach Lang Wedemeyer in a fall camp update video on Liberty Athletics YouTube page. “Coming in and being the third coach in three years and a lot of change to the program. A lot of players were kind of half in and half out. We just sat down with the team and said if we’re ever going to move this program to where it could be and the success that we can have then everybody’s got to fully commit and trust and buy in. They really embraced it and it’s just kind of evolved into part of our culture.”
It has been a tough start for Liberty this season, but they continue to grow together as a team.
“We played some very good teams at the start of our season and there are really no weak ones anywhere throughout the fall,” Wedemeyer told me. “Sometimes it’s really good to play those tough teams early so you can really learn about yourself, but sometimes it backfires because your team doesn’t generate much confidence if the score lines go awry. I do think that our players benefited from facing some really good teams so far this season and we have grown in our ability to adapt to different systems and tactical game plans. We are still missing the ability to stay focused for 90 minutes and to take advantage of our chances in front of the goal.”
Pitt will be the third ACC Opponent that the Flames will face this season as they opened up the season with a 3-0 loss against #25 Virginia Tech and a 6-0 loss against #9 Virginia, both on the road.
Kasey Jamieson leads the way for the Flames on offense as she has tallied 2 goals and an assist so far this season. And Gabrielle Farrell has also tallied 2 goals and leads the team in shot attempts with 21.
“We moved Kasey from a wide position to a more central area in our lineup so she could get on the ball more,” Wedemeyer told me. “She is still learning that role, but getting better with each game in her off the ball movement and generating good attacking moments for us. Gabrielle is an exciting 1v1 player who can make things happen at any point in the game. She is dangerous just about every time she gets the ball, but needs to be more lethal in the final third.”
The match will be available to view on ESPN+ if you are not traveling to Virginia for the match