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Pitt storms back from 3-0 deficit to beat Duke; remain in contention for ACC Coastal title

Photo from Pitt Athletics

Pitt storms back from 3-0 deficit to beat Duke; remain in contention for ACC Coastal title

FINAL: Pitt 4, Duke 3

BOX SCORE (PDF)

Pitt’s men’s soccer team came from way behind, erasing a 3-0 deficit to defeat Duke for the first time in program history, 4-3, Friday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

With the win, the Panthers improve to 8-5-2 on the season and 4-2-1 in the ACC — as they remain in contention to capture the ACC Coastal Division regular season title — while the Blue Devils drop to 6-7-2 and 2-4-1 in the ACC.

Three different Pitt players scored in the conference win, but it was junior Alexander Dexter who scored the late second half goal to lift the Panthers to victory.

“I don’t care where you are in a program, but if you come back 3-0 in a match like that, just the belief factor that can bring to you, to not quit and to find a way to keep pushing and discover a way to find a goal and to keep yourself in it is one of the biggest things,” said head coach Jay Vidovich. “I think that’s the biggest thing, just the belief in there and the kids growing up and becoming men. It was a fantastic victory that way. I am darn happy.”

Duke wasted no time getting on the board, scoring its first goal of the game in the 11th minute when Max Moser caught Pitt redshirt junior goalie Arie Ammann getting back into position. The Blue Devils added to their lead 17 minutes later when Suniel Veerakone buried the ball from outside the keepers’ box on a pass from Daniele Proch in the 28th minute.

Daniel Wright netted a goal from the left side in the 37th minute to put Duke up, 3-0.

However, the Panthers responded in 41st minute as junior Edward Kizza netted his ninth goal of the year after receiving a pass from Dexter. The goal was crucial as the team headed to the locker room down, 3-1, at the half.

“What are you thinking, what are you feeling, what’s going on out there, can we help you because how do we discover ourselves again,” Vidovich asked his team at halftime. “We’ve done the worse, but we want the crowd to make sure we were going to fight and battle for them and give them a reason to stay.”

And battle they did.

Pitt began to chip away at the Blue Devils’ lead as freshman Veljko Petkovic put in the second goal of the night in the 55th minute for his sixth goal of the year.

Sophomore Jackson Walti scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute, sending it in from nearly midfield.

With momentum going in Panthers’ favor, Dexter sealed the deal in the 86th minute as he put in a loose ball in the box.

Pitt finished with a slight advantage in shots, 12-11, as well as corners, 5-4.

ACC COASTAL STANDINGS

Virginia 16 5-1-1 0.786 13-1-1 0.900 9-1-0 3-0-1 1-0-0 W2
Pitt 13 4-2-1 0.643 8-5-2 0.600 6-2-1 2-2-1 0-1-0 W2
North Carolina 9 3-4 0.429 7-5-3 0.567 4-4-2 3-1-1 0-0-0 L1
Duke 7 2-4-1 0.357 6-7-2 0.467 5-3-2 1-4-0 0-0-0 L2
Virginia Tech 5 1-4-2 0.286 7-4-2 0.615 3-2-1 2-2-1 2-0-0 L1
Notre Dame 3 1-5 0.167 7-6-1 0.536 5-3-0 2-3-1 0-0-0 L2

 

UP NEXT

Pitt travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at Alumni Stadium for its final regular season game. VIrginia, who lead Pitt in the standings, but the Panthers hold the tie-break edge with its head-to-head win, also finish out the regular season on Friday, taking on third place North Carolina at home.  

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including 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 United States. 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).

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