NCAA Men’s Soccer
FINAL: Pitt 2, Lehigh 1
It wasn’t the dominant victory that some may have expected, but No. 3 Pitt controlled the match and came away with a 2-1 victory against Lehigh University at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday evening.
The Panthers (now 2-1-0) were led by goals from this week’s ACC Offensive Player of the Week Velkjo Petkovic, who scored in the 45th minute and Rodrigo Almeida in the 76th minute.
“It took us awhile to find ourselves tonight. We ran into a very worthy opponent who challenged us early and didn’t make it easy but it was a test our team needed.” Pitt Head Coach Jay Vidovich said after the win.
The Mountain Hawks added a late goal that came from Veljko’s brother Bratislav Petkovic in the 86th minute that cut the lead to 2-1.
How It Happened
Pitt (2-1) nearly took the lead in the third minute, as graduate student Alexander Dexter missed narrowly wide right from eight yards out. Graduate student goalkeeper Nico Campuzano kept the match scoreless, as Lehigh’s (0-3) Josh Luchini had a breakaway opportunity but was stopped by an outstretched Campuzano. Mountain Hawk Perry Kingson gathered the rebound but missed the second attempt high above the cross bar.
The Panthers put pressure on the Lehigh defense late in the first half as both Almeida and Petkovic put shots on goal, both of which were saved by Noah Sutherland. Pitt was able to break through the defense late, as sophomore Filip Mirkovic sent a long through ball to Löeffelsend down the right side, who crossed it into the middle to Petkovic for the goal.
Pitt outshot the Mountain Hawks, 10-3, and led 5-0 in corner kicks after 45 minutes.
The Panthers kept the pressure high offensively early in the second half, totaling four shots in an 11 minute stretch. In the 76th minute, Löeffelsend found Almeida from above the box, who made a quick move to his left and struck a low ball with his left foot for the goal.
Lehigh cut the lead to one goal in the 86th minute, as Bratislav Petkovic, the older brother of Veljko Petkovic, connected with the back of the net from 15 yards out. Pitt held the Mountain Hawks to zero shots in the remaining four minutes and held on for the 2-1 victory.
Pitt outshot Lehigh 16-5 for the night and finished with a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks. Campuzano recorded one save for his 18th career win.
Pitt returns to action on Monday evening when they travel to Akron.
86′ — GOAL After Rodrigo Almeida scores for Pitt — Lehigh‘s Bratis Petkovic — brother of Veljko — becomes the second Petkovic to score in this match to cut the Pitt lead to 2-1.
76′ — GOAL – PITT — Rodrigo Almeida with a blast!
Rodrigo with some left foot POWER❗
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) September 4, 2021
45 — PITT GOAL — Vejlko Petkovic
Petkovic Precision ⚽
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) September 4, 2021
13′ | Nico Campuzano with the BIG STOP The graduate student keeps the match scoreless.
3′ | Alexander Dexter misses a shot JUST wide right. Quick start for the Panthers offensively.
Look for starting lineups and game highlights/updates to pbe posted here.
|0||N. CAMPUZANO (GK)|
|2||J. LOEFFELSEND (Def)|
|3||R. CRIVELLO (Def)|
|4||M. ABUALNADI (Def)|
|5||A. ORDONEZ (Def)|
|8||V. NOEL (MF)|
|13||A. DEXTER (F)|
|15||L. MORT (F)|
|19||V. PETKOVIC (MF)|
|21||F. MIRKOVIC (MF)|
|24||J. WALTI (MF)|
Pitt / Lehigh Coverage on PSN
Pitt Game Notes
THE SERIES – LEHIGH
– Pitt meets the Mountain Hawks for the third time in program history Friday. The Panthers leads the all-time series 2-0-0.
– Friday is a re-match of Pitt’s first ever NCAA Tournament match Nov. 21, 2019. The Panthers won at home, 2-0.
– Head Coach Jay Vidovich is 2-0-0 all-time against Lehigh and 1-0-0 while at Pitt.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS
– Lehigh enters Friday night 0-2 overall, with losses against Manhattan and Vermont.
– Fifth year midfielder Stevo Bednarksy and senior forward Josh Luchini each received spots on the Patriot Preseason All-League Team.
– In a shortened 2020-21 season due to COVID-19, Lehigh finished 2-4 both overall and in conference play. Luchini led the team with seven points (3 goals, 1 assist).
– The Mountain Hawks were picked to finish fifth out of 10 teams in the Patriot Preseason Poll.
PETKOVIC NAMED ACC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
– Junior midfielder Veljko Petkovic was named ACC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in his career Tuesday for his performance in Pitt’s 7-0 shutout of Duquesne.
– Petkovic began the 2021 season with a career night against the Dukes at home, scoring two goals and tallying two assists for a career-high six points.
– Petkovic scored two goals midway through the first half one minute and eight seconds apart, setting a school record for fastest consecutive goals scored by one player.
– The Queens, N.Y., native was also named to TopDrawerSoccer and College Soccer News’ Team of the Week.
PITT REMAINS NO. 3 IN POLL
– In the first United Soccer Coaches poll of the season, the Panthers remained at the No. 3 spot following last week’s action.
– The poll counted games played from Thursday, Aug. 26 through Sunday, Aug. 30.
– The rankings marks the 21st-straight week the Panthers have been in the top-10 of the United Soccer Coaches Poll.
– Pitt returns to the road Monday, Sept. 6 at No. 19 Akron.
– Kick-off is scheduled for 7 PM with live coverage on ESPN+.