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Pulse of Pittsburgh Soccer: College men, high school 2023 campaigns kick off this week

Photo courtesy Zachary M. Weiss

Where do we start?

All three of Pittsburgh area Division I women’s soccer college programs started their seasons this past week, picking up wins in five of six matches.

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC remain in first place despite losing last Wednesday on the road, 1-0, to the hottest team in the USL Championship, Orange County SC.  In the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference standings, the Hounds (13-5-8 | W-L-D, 47 points) stay ahead of Tampa Bay (who defeated Tulsa FC, 1-0), by three points, and Charleston by four.  This week, with eight matches in the regular season remaining, Bob Lilley’s squad will look to build more points as they stay on the road with two matches, on Wednesday at Hartford and Saturday against defending league champion, San Antonio FC.  Anything less than four points will give Tampa Bay and Charleston opportunities to jump ahead.

Our Pittsburgh Soccer Now team has been on top of things, providing previews last week for each of the women’s programs, and we have game recaps from each squad’s match.

Now it’s the college men’s teams’ turn to begin their seasons, as Pitt, Duquesne and Robert Morris all kick off on Thursday, and each with lofty expectations.

Pitt reloaded in some key positions, but they also have some key returning talent and leaders from the squad that made it to the College Cup in 2022.  Duquesne has a lot of players back from the past couple of seasons where they’ve been a program that has served notice in the Atlantic 10 and beyond under the careful guidance of Chase Brooks.  The Dukes have aspirations to push for an Atlantic 10 Championship again, as they finished runner-up in 2021 and were nationally ranked in 2022.   Robert Morris has a new coach, Jonathan Potter as they’re looking to continue to build upon momentum from the previous couple seasons under the helm of Jason O’Keefe, who resigned in November.

Will this be the year that Jay Vidovich can lead Pitt not only back to the College Cup, but win the NCAA Championship?

That remains to be seen, as the Panthers are still working on building team chemistry and will likely have at least a few new starters in their rotation early in the season. Pitt will open up at home on Thursday against in-state rival Penn State, The Panthers will be led by senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic, who was named to the United Soccer Coaches’ Midfielders to Watch list and had the opportunity to .

Vidovich, as usual, won’t back down from any challenges, as he discussed this intent to pack the Panthers’ schedule with tough non-conference matches in addition to the ACC gauntlet.

Look this week for previews to come on the three DI men’s teams from Dominic Campbell (Pitt), Zac Weiss (Duquesne) and Matt Popchock (Robert Morris), including Dominic’s feature (*) with more from Vidovich and an in-depth overview of Pitt’s roster which will have some very interesting new additions.  (Editor’s Note: Look for Dom’s feature to come Monday morning!) 

If all of that’s not enough, the start of the High School season is also upon us.  We will be at the JRK Memorial Classic, at Pine-Richland High School, which kicks off Friday night featuring 12 boys schools, including 10 WPIAL squads plus Kiski School and Wheeling.

Look for a few podcasts to return this week as we start to take a look at the college side on Sounding Off on Soccer and the scholastic beat, on the Kids on the Pitch pod, which will include interviews with opening weekend tournament participants.

Quote of the Week – Pitt’s Sarah Schupansky 

“I just thought the team came out as sharp as we wanted. We had an emphasis on coming out and getting an early goal and just putting our best foot forward right off the bat. A quick start against a solid team like Drexel. We watched the film, coaches prepared us well and we just went out and put all the effort in. It’s our first game in from of the home fans and just to be able to get a solid win in front of them was great.”

Pittsburgh Soccer Schedule (8/21/2023 – 8/27/2023) 

Date Team Time H/A Opponent Location
Wed August 23 HOUNDS 7:00 PM A Hartford Hartford
Thur August 24 RMU W 3:00 PM A Akron Akron, OH
Pitt M 7:00 PM H PENN STATE Ambrose Urbanic Field
Duq M 7:30 PM A James Madison Harrisonburg, VA
Duq W 7:00 PM H Youngstown St Rooney Field
RMU M 4:00 PM H VMI North Athletic Complex
Pitt W 7:00 PM A Kent State Kent, OH
Friday August 25
WPIAL Non-Section (Boys & Girls)
Pine Richland JRK Memorial Classic PSN Featured Match 8:00 PM Stadium Pine Richland boys vs Wheeling Pine Richland Stadium
Saturday August 26 Pine Richland JRK Memorial Classic PSN Featured Match 7:15 PM Stadium Pine Richland boys vs North Catholic Pine Richland Stadium
WPIAL Non-Section (Boys & Girls)
HOUNDS 9:00 PM A San Antonio San Antonio
Sunday August 27 RMU W 4:00 PM A St. Francis (PA) Loretto, PA
Pitt W 1:00 PM H Bucknell Ambrose Urbanic Field
Duq W 1:00 PM A WVU Morgantown, WV
Duq M 12 Noon A Virginia Tech Harrisonburg, VA
RMU M 1:00 PM H NIagara North Athletic Complex
WPIAL Non-Section (Boys & Girls)
Pine Richland JRK Memorial Classic PSN Featured Match TBA TBA Pine Richland Stadium
Monday, August 28 Pitt M 7:00 PM H Howard Ambrose Urbanic Field
WPIAL Girls Section play begins
Tuesday, Aug 29
WPIAL Boys Section play begins


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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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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