Created on Thursday, 18 October 2012 23:34
Written by Andrew Stern / Staff Writer
The Pitt men’s soccer team held the fifth-best team in the country off the scoreboard for an entire half.
And then in a span of 13 seconds, the Panthers’ hopes at an upset were shattered, as a game loss dropped them to 0-6 in Big East play and bumped them to a losing record for the first time this season.
Marquette scored two quick goals at the beginning of the second half and the No. 5 Golden Eagles (13-1, 4-1 Big East) added two more as they downed the Panthers (6-7-2, 0-6 Big East) at the Petersen Sports Complex on Wednesday night, 4-0.
In the first half, ball possession seemed to be extremely even, despite Marquette holding an 8-3 advantage in shots.
Heading into the half scoreless, Pitt head coach Joe Luxbacher was extremely pleased with how his team performed.
“We played very well in the first half, and that was as well as we had played in a while,” Luxbacher said after the game. “We held the ball and did not let Marquette generate any possession.”
But after the intermission, the game swung completely in the Golden Eagles’ favor, as Marquette scored two goals in 13 seconds.
Both goals came in the 49th minute.
Marquette midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka received a beautiful cross and fired the ball into the right corner of the net to open the scoring.
Then, the Panthers committed a turnover, an issue that has plagued the team all season, and Marquette forward Andy Huftalin immediately converted the opportunity into a second goal for the Golden Eagles.
Luxbacher was disappointed that his team lost its concentration after conceding the first goal.
“The first goal wasn’t a huge deal, but that second goal, that was a killer,” Luxbacher said. “That can’t happen. We can’t lose our composure like that, because then we were chasing for the rest of the game.”
Playing from behind, the Panthers’ defense got opened up two more times, as the Golden Eagles showed why they deserve to be ranked among the nation’s top soccer teams.
After the game, Luxbacher expressed how difficult it can be to play such a challenging opponent.
“Marquette is a great team, but we showed what we were capable of in the first half,” he said. “After that second goal, things got scattered.”
The Pitt men’s soccer team has two games remaining before the end of the season. The Panthers will host Connecticut at the Petersen Sports Complex on Saturday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Villanova for the season finale.