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Pitt Women’s Soccer Demolishes Rival Duquesne in the City Game

Pitt women's soccer player Amanda West

No. 21 Pitt women’s soccer continues to succeed on the pitch in 2023, as they took down rival Duquesne 6-1 in the City Game at Ambrose Urbanic Field Thursday night.

The Panthers (5-0) stay undefeated on the season with the win over the Dukes (1-4). This is also the fourth straight win in the rivalry for the Panthers, who improve in the all-time series to 12-4, including 7-3 at home.

Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum praised his team’s performance in the win, but also soccer in and around Pittsburgh, particularly Duquesne and Robert Morris for competing at such a high level.

“Well I think you see, not only from us and Duquesne, but Robert Morris as well, there’s a lot of talent in Pittsburgh,” Waldrum said. “All three of us have a lot of Pittsburgh players on our roster. So it’s good to see the quality that can come out of this city. I think the clubs are doing a great job of developing the young players and it’s good to see those players stay home for one of the three schools. So it makes this rivalry really nice because it is a city rivalry.”

Pitt took the lead early with a goal in the sixth minute. Junior defender Ashley Moon started the attack with a through ball to junior forward Sarah Schupansky. Schupansky smartly crossed it to fifth year forward Amanda West, who got onto the end to score the opener.

West would continue to serve as a presence on the attack, scoring her second goal of the game in the 24th minute, to double the Panthers lead. Dukes junior goalkeeper Maddy Neundorfer made a terrible pass in her own box to Panthers fifth year midfielder Landy Mertz. Mertz had a heavy first touch, which ended up being beneficial, as it landed right at the feet of West who easily put into the net.

This was the first multi-goal game for West this season and puts her up to four goals on the season. She holds the record for most goals in program history with 41 goals and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her have more multi-goal games going forward in 2023.

“I talked to my coach [Waldrum] previously to this game,” West said. “He talked about getting out there and playing and not worrying about anything and just being myself. So that was the focus for me tonight. Just going out there and playing to have fun. So that’s what I did.”

Duquesne made it interesting in the 29th minute, as senior forward Cami Taylor scored off a corner to cut Pitt’s lead to 2-1.

First-year midfielder Deborah Abiodun, who also played for Nigeria at the Women’s World Cup this summer, played fantastic in the second half.

She scored her first goal in the 53rd minute, getting the ball on a corner kick, turning and then blasting a shot into the back of the  net to increase the Panthers’ lead to 3-1.

Abiodun then started the attack on her second goal with a nice tackle and moved forward. She stayed patient and once she received the pass from junior midfielder Keera Melenhorst at the top of the box, she ripped a shot that hit off the side of the left post and back into the net for her second goal in the 65th minute.

“What I like is she has such great vision on the field,” Waldrum said of Abiodun. “Her passing and her decisions are fantastic, but she’s good around goal too. You can see that tonight and it was good to see her get the two goals. The third goal was a big one to get us off on the right foot [in the second half]. She’s going to be a special player. I said that before she came. Everybody’s going to really enjoy watching her because she is so good. She also brings a lot of bite and physicality, even for a smaller player, she’s strong, she brings a lot of defensive presence into our midfield as well.”

Pitt would also get two more goals in the game to complete the 6-1 blowout. Junior forward Samiah Phiri found space in the box and smashed a shot that hit under the cross bar and into the net in the 56th minute. Junior defender Mackenzie Evers put in a great cross to fifth year midfielder Anna Bout, who headed it before senior goalkeeper Savanna Keppy could get to it, scoring the sixth and final goal in the 86th minute.

Pitt women’s soccer hosts MAC opponent Bowling Green on Sunday, Sept. 3 at Ambrose Urbanic Field at 4 p.m. to end a three-game homestand, where they’ll try to get their sixth win in 2023.

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