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Pitt men's soccer triumphs at Longwood, 2-1 - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Pitt men’s soccer triumphs at Longwood, 2-1

Senior+midfielder+Matt+Venanzi+%2810%29+scored+Pitt%27s+only+goal+against+Virginia+Tech+on+Friday.+John+Hamilton+%7C+Staff+Photographer
Senior midfielder Matt Venanzi (10) scored Pitt's only goal against Virginia Tech on Friday. John Hamilton | Staff Photographer

Senior midfielder Matt Venanzi (10) scored Pitt's only goal against Virginia Tech on Friday. John Hamilton | Staff Photographer

Senior midfielder Matt Venanzi (10) scored Pitt's only goal against Virginia Tech on Friday. John Hamilton | Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

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The Pitt men’s soccer team continues to show steady improvement after encountering a rough stretch early on in Jay Vidovich’s first season as head coach.

After battling to a 1-1 draw against the Duke Blue Devils on Friday to snap a four-game losing streak, the Panthers (2-5-2 overall) defeated the Longwood Lancers (3-5-1 overall), 2-1, on Monday night in Farmville, Virginia. All three goals came in the second half following an extremely quiet first 45 minutes.

The game got off to a slow start with only two shots apiece through the first 20 minutes. Longwood goalkeeper David Hay turned away Pitt defender Curren Page’s shot in the third minute, and neither team placed another shot on goal for more than 30 minutes.

The Lancers attempted four shots in the first 30 minutes, but none reached the Panthers’ goal. Meanwhile, Pitt defender Matt Bischoff put a shot on target in the 36th minute, but again, Hay made the save.

Then, with just four seconds left in the first half, midfielder Michael Margulis had a chance to give Longwood the lead. But Panthers goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt made the save on the Lancers’ first shot on goal of the game to keep the game scoreless at halftime.

Longwood outshot Pitt in the first half, 6-5, but neither team generated many promising scoring opportunities. Then, the Panthers came out firing after the break.

After the Lancers committed a foul, Pitt’s first-year forward John Fritz found himself in a 1-on-1 opportunity against Longwood’s goalie. Fritz bounced it off the right post and into the net for the first goal of his collegiate career, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.

Longwood managed to get a pair of shots off after giving up the lead but couldn’t put them on net. Margulis received a yellow card in the 58th minute, resulting in a free kick for Pitt.

Senior defender Stephane Pierre took the kick for the Panthers and directed the ball to the middle of the field where senior midfielder Matt Venanzi corralled it and sent it past Hay for his second goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.

Facing a two-goal deficit with 30 minutes left in regulation, the Lancers started to turn up the pressure.

Longwood attempted four shots in the 10 minutes following Pitt’s second goal, but Outcalt saved the only one that got to him. Outcalt made his third save of the game on a shot by midfielder Finnlay Wyatt in the 70th minute, then the Panthers defense blocked a rebound attempt, and a third shot sailed high.

But with less than 15 minutes left in the game, the Lancers really made things interesting.

Midfielder Dan Campos connected on a pass in the middle of the box to fellow midfielder Max Poelker, who then directed it to Wyatt in front of the net. Wyatt beat Outcalt to the lower right side of the goal, making it a 2-1 game in the 77th minute.

Longwood kept attacking, shooting high and wide before Outcalt denied a would-be tying goal from Campos in the 85th minute. He then deflected Wyatt’s desperate attempt to tie the game with five seconds left, and Pitt successfully defended Campos’ last-second corner kick to end the game with a score of 2-1.

Pitt returns home to host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

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Pitt men’s soccer triumphs at Longwood, 2-1