Pitt men’s soccer blasts St. Joseph’s for first win, 4-1


Raj Kahlon (11) scored his first goal of the season to lead Pitt to its first win under new head coach Jay Vidovich. Andrew Shin | Staff Photographer

By Ted Zhang / Staff Writer

It took three games, but Jay Vidovich, the former NSCAA National Coach of the Year, earned his first win as head coach of the Pitt men’s soccer team Sunday night.

Following a disappointing loss to Temple Friday, the Panthers (1-1-1) bounced back Sunday with a 4-1 domination against the St. Joseph’s Hawks (0-3-0) at Sweeney Field in Philadelphia for their first win of the 2016 season.

Vidovich entered his first year at Pitt sporting one of the most respected pedigrees in college soccer. In 2007, he led Wake Forest to its first national championship in school history and was a five-time ACC Coach of the Year.

His tenure at Pitt got off to a bit of a slow start in a scoreless draw against Detroit, then the Panthers nearly knocked off Temple on the road before faltering, 2-1, late in the second half.

This time, Pitt took control of the game right away and put together its most complete performance yet.

“It was progress and an overall better collective effort,” Vidovich said in a press release after the game. “We were more committed to defending tonight. Our transitions and movement off of each other paid off with several quality attacking movements.”

The Panthers were on the attack from the start with three shots on goal in the first three minutes. The final shot by junior midfielder Raj Kahlon found its way to the back of the net with an assist by junior forward Roosevelt Angulo.

St. Joseph’s could not maintain possession for long before Pitt intercepted a pass at midfield, leading to a dribbled-in shot in the penalty area by freshman midfielder Luca Mellor. Mellor put it past Hawks goalkeeper Greg O’Connell to give Pitt a 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

After a shaky start, St. Joseph’s seemed to regain some ground in the 12th minute. The Hawks earned their first corner kick attempt, delivered by junior Matt Crawford, but were unable to score.

For the next 15 minutes, Pitt controlled the ball and unleashed an onslaught of shots at O’Connell, but none were able to slide through.

St. Joseph’s found an opportunity to shift the momentum in the middle of the first half by advancing the ball and drawing a free kick just outside the penalty box. Crawford took the free kick but sent the ball too high of the net.

After the free kick, neither team was able to maintain much of an offensive attack, as the majority of the exchanges occurred in the midfield. Then, in the 42nd minute, Mellor blasted a ball from 20 yards out into the low right corner of the net to extend Pitt’s advantage to 3-0 going into halftime.

The Hawks came out into the second half with a sense of urgency, controlling the majority of the possession. They opened with a header and earned two back-to-back corner kicks but couldn’t make use of those opportunities.

Pitt’s final goal came at the 69th minute after O’Connell blocked a shot on goal by freshman forward Josh Coan. The rebound went right toward senior midfielder Matt Venanzi who put it past O’Connell and put the game out of reach.

St. Joseph’s responded with a goal in the 90th minute to prevent a shutout by the Panthers, but Pitt went on to win by a score of 4-1.

The Panthers will head home to host the Louisville Cardinals at Ambrose Urbanic Field 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9.

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