Pitt men’s soccer wraps up regular season with 2-1 loss at VT


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

By Ryan Zimba | For The Pitt News

Despite a late goal by senior midfielder Matt Venanzi and seven saves by first-year goalkeeper Jacob Rooth, the Pitt men’s soccer team closed out its regular season with a 2-1 loss to No. 23 Virginia Tech on Friday night.

The Panthers struggled mightily in their bid to earn their first ACC win of the season against the Hokies, a team that had outscored opponents by 15 heading into the match. Virginia Tech (10-4-3, 3-4-1 ACC) quadrupled Pitt’s (2-12-3, 0-6-2 ACC) shot total and would’ve blown the Panthers away if not for Rooth, who was making his first start in goal in place of Mikal Outcalt.

Pitt’s offense got off to a better start than in recent games, earning three corner kicks within the first 12 minutes. Each attempt was comfortably cleared by the Hokies, as the Panthers failed to get a shot off.

VT’s offense came on strong later in the half, and in the 31st minute the Hokies took the lead when forward Humberto Montero scored off a rebound given up by Rooth.

The Panthers’ defense stiffened and the team managed to avoid further damage for the remainder of the half, keeping the score 1-0.

Pitt got off to a sloppy start in the second half, as midfielder Raj Kahlon picked up a yellow card in the 56th minute.

A few minutes later, the Hokies’ offense got into the Panthers’ box and created four chances in a matter of seconds. The Panthers’ defense blocked away two, and Rooth came up with key saves on the others to keep his team within striking distance.

In the 70th minute, Pitt found itself in trouble again as VT worked its way down the field and crushed a shot past Rooth into the net. But the score remained 1-0, as the side official raised his flag for offsides.

It didn’t make much difference for the Hokies, who were determined offensively throughout the game. They scored just four minutes later, when substitute Gino Rossi sent the ball past Rooth from 23 yards out to give VT a 2-0 lead late in the game.

The Panthers received an opportunity late when a VT defender committed a foul in his own penalty area. Venanzi stepped up and converted the penalty kick to cut the deficit to one.

Pitt earned a couple of corner kicks in the 90th minute, but couldn’t find the tying goal as the clock ran out.

It was an overall disappointing regular season for the Panthers, who failed to win a conference game under first-year head coach Jay Vidovich.

While there is still excitement about Vidovich, the regular season has made it clear that the team has a long way to go until it is ready to compete with the rest of the conference.

The Panthers have one more chance at a conference win when they travel to Charleston, South Carolina, for the ACC tournament. As the No. 12 seed, Pitt will will take on the yet-to-be-determined No. 5 seed in its first-round matchup Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m.

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