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Pitt men’s soccer wins opener at Notre Dame, 3-1

Photo courtesy Jared Todhunter

Pitt men’s soccer wins opener at Notre Dame, 3-1

FINAL: Pitt 3, Notre Dame 1

South Bend, Ind. – The Panthers took advantage of an own goal from Notre Dame and freshman Bertin Jacquesson extended No. 4 Pitt’s lead with a late second half goal as the Panthers defeated No. 5 Notre Dame, 3-1, Saturday night at Alumni Soccer Stadium.

Highlights & Notes

–          Senior Alexander Dexter scored the first goal of the 2020 season for the Panthers, one-timing a cross from Jacquesson inside the 18-yard box.

–          Dexter and Jacquesson each scored a goal and tallied an assist on the evening, while senior Matt Bailey added an assist of his own.

–          The Panthers have now won a top-five matchup on the road in back-to-back seasons. Pitt defeated No. 1 Virginia on Oct. 18, 2019.

–          The victory was the first regular season opening victory for the Panthers since 2014.

–          Tonight’s game was a non-conference affair, with the second contest at home on Oct. 30 counting toward the ACC standings.

Eleven minutes into the first half, Dexter scored the first goal of the regular season courtesy of Jacquesson. Jacquesson crossed the ball from right to left inside the 18 to the far post, allowing Dexter to one touch it in for the score (1-0).

Notre Dame answered at the 31:54 mark of the first half, as Michael Pelligrino hit a hard strike off a corner kick from 20 yards out into the top right corner of the net. Aiden McFadden tallied the assist as the Fighting Irish knotted the game up at 1-1.

The Panthers went into the locker room with a 6-1 advantage in shots and 3-1 lead in corners. The score remained 1-1.

Nine minutes into the second half, Dexter crossed the ball inside the box seven yards from the goal. As Jacquesson went to strike, the ball hit the back heel of a Notre Dame defender and trickled into the net, putting Pitt up 2-1.

In the 72nd minute, Dexter mirrored the pass that Jacquesson gave to him in the first half, only this time left to right. Jacquesson used his left foot to strike the ball into the left side of the net, giving the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Pitt held on the rest of the way.

The Panthers led 10-5 in shots while both teams recorded five corner kicks. Graduate student Nico Campuzano earned the win with one save on the evening.

Pitt is back on the field Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Syracuse for an ACC battle at 7 PM on the ACCNX.

Game Notes / Preview 

The contest is considered a non-conference game, with the second meeting on Oct. 30 counting toward the conference record.

The Panthers previously played Wake Forest and Louisville earlier this month in exhibition matches, falling to the Demon Deacons, 3-2, and shutting out the Cardinals 5-0 at home. The Panthers were tabbed fourth in the first United Soccer Coaches Poll of the fall season Tuesday afternoon, the highest ranking in program history. All five spots in the poll were made up of ACC opponents, including Wake Forest (1), Clemson (2) and Virginia (3).

Notre Dame enters the contest with a 1-0 overall record. The Irish defeated Kentucky, 1-0, on Sept. 17 at home.

The meeting between Pitt and Notre Dame is the 26th in the series, with the Fighting Irish leading 18-4-3 all-time. Notre Dame won, 1-0, in the last meeting Nov. 1, 2019. Pitt last defeated Notre Dame Oct. 13, 2017 with a 1-0 decision at home against a Fighting Irish team ranked No. 13 in the country.

The Panthers open the season with a ranked opponent for the third consecutive year. Pitt fell to No. 2 Indiana, 3-2, in double-overtime last season and dropped a 1-0 decision against No. 25 Colgate in 2018.

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John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for 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 US. 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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