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PSN Close-Up: Pitt women’s soccer’s Landy Mertz and Amanda West

If there’s one thing that Amanda West and Landy Mertz have in common is that they both made quite a first impression upon their arrival with University of Pittsburgh Women’s Soccer program.

West, a native of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, came first in 2019 — breaking numerous Pitt goal scoring records and earning numerous honors in her freshman year. She picked right up where she left off in 2020-21 season, blazing ahead to lead the nation in led the nation in points (33), goals (13), game-winning goals (four) and shots on goal per game (2.36).

On Thursday, she was named to the All-ACC preseason team.

Mertz, who grew up in Upper St. Clair and excelled with Century United, decided to return home, annoucing her intentions to transfer to Pitt in late 2020 from the University of Dayton. In her first two matches with Pitt in an abbreviated Spring 2021 schedule, she scored three goals.

Together, they are hoping to emerge as a dangerous scoring tandem that will help Pitt women’s soccer program reach new heights.

Pittsburgh Soccer Now‘s John Krysinsky had the opportunity to connect with both Mertz and West after a preseason training session earlier this week.

Here’s most of the interview session, recorded on Pittsburgh Sports Live.

The leading returner in the conference in points (33) and goals (13), West became the first Pitt women’s soccer player to earn the distinction  of being named to the United Soccer Coaches’ All-Atlantic Region First-Team.

Pitt’s Amanda West Named to United Soccer Coaches’ All-Atlantic Region First-Team

West was first Panther to earn All-ACC Second-Team and All-Region First-Team Honors as one of the nation’s top scorers in the 2020-21 season. She placed third in total points, fourth in goals, 10th in game-winning goals (four) and 25th in assists (seven). She broke the school’s single-season records for points and goals, both marks she set (points) and tied (goals) as a freshman.

The forward opened the fall with a program-best seven-game goal scoring streak. She became the school’s all-time leader in career points (59) and tied for career goals (23). Against competition from the best conference in the nation, she tied for the league-lead in goals (six) and points (14).

West didn’t miss a beat when the Panthers returned for two spring games. In a 4-1 win over Kentucky March 29, she recorded three assists for the second time in her career.

Mertz’s family liniage is fairly well-known in the Pittsburgh area, as as older brother Robbie had a successful career at Michigan, and plays professionally, first with the Riverhounds SC, and now with Atlanta United 2.  Her father played soccer at Grove City College, while her other older brother Ryan plays soccer at Delaware.

Upper St. Clair’s Landy Mertz Transfers to Pitt from Dayton

Mertz was selected a United Soccer Coaches High School All-American and the Post-Gazette Player of the Year after producing 20 goals and 15 assists as a senior. Netted 56 goals and 30 assists in her high school career. Mertz also garnered all-section every year and all-area, Almanac Elite 11, All-WPIAL and All-State in her last seasons. She helped the Panthers win the PIAA AAAA Championship as a freshman and two section titles and was selected the team’s rookie of the year.

On the club side, Mertz played for Century (and also appeared with its WPSL side this summer) and Riverhounds Academy. She helped the teams to win the 2018 Region I, three State Cup, two US Club Regional and the US Club National Championships. She was named Best 11 at USYSA National Championships in 2018.

In the preseason coaches’ poll, the Panthers were picked 11th.

Pitt opens the regular season next Thursday against Tulsa at 5 p.m. in the BancFirst Cowgirl Soccer Invitational.

Pitt women’s soccer releases 2021 schedule

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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