In its last game before conference play next weekend, the Pitt men’s soccer team hit the road to take on the Loyola Greyhounds, winning by a score of 1-0 to improve to 2-2 on the year.
First-year forward Alexander Dexter was the lone goal scorer of the night, putting the Panthers up 1-0 in the 30th minute. The shot was Pitt’s only one on goal, but it was good enough to get past first-year goalkeeper Chase Vosvick and give the Panthers the win.
But even though the Panthers came out on top, it didn’t look great for them early on. In the first 15 minutes of the game, the Greyhounds had complete control over the action, pressing forward into Pitt’s defensive third.
Loyola registered the first four shots of the game, but only one made it on target — a strike by sophomore midfielder Morgan Lussi in the 12th minute. Pitt redshirt sophomore Mikal Outcalt came up with the save, but the Greyhounds continued to apply pressure.
The Pitt defense held firm, though, not allowing another shot for 17 minutes. During this time, the team still couldn’t muster anything offensively and registered only one shot, which sailed high over the crossbar.
In the 29th minute, the Greyhounds got back to their attack, registering another shot on goal, resulting in another save for Outcalt. The goalie performed well, but while most of the early action took place in Pitt’s end, not much got through to him, and he went relatively untested during the game.
After the save, Outcalt jump-started the Pitt offense and put them on the counterattack. Eventually, the ball came to senior defenseman Robby Dambrot, who kicked it long down the field to Dexter. Dexter controlled the ball well with his first touch and blasted it into the net with his second to give the Panthers the 1-0 lead.
From then on, the half was pretty quiet offensively, as neither team could get a shot off. The Panthers earned a corner in the 36th minute, but nothing came of it, and the team went into the locker room with a one-goal lead.
Despite having the lead at the break, the Panthers couldn’t have felt too good about their first half. They were outplayed by the Greyhounds in major stretches of the half and probably didn’t deserve to have the lead.
That all changed in the second half, though, as Pitt’s defense clamped down and filled in the gaps. The Greyhounds still got some shots off, but none of them made it through to Outcalt.
The first of those shots came 10 minutes into the half as sophomore forward Nico Brown fired on the net. The Pitt defense got in the way, though, blocking the shot before it got to the goal and putting the Panthers back on the attack.
But Pitt couldn’t do much with the ball either, as the offense sputtered in the second half. For the majority of the last 45 minutes, the ball went back and forth between the two teams in the middle of the field.
After more than 25 minutes without a shot, the Panthers were able to break through in the 82nd minute, getting off two attempts in a span of 2:16. First-year midfielder Marcony Pimentel’s shot flew wide, and Dexter — attempting a second goal — hit one right into a Greyhound defender.
Now with less than 10 minutes to go, the Greyhounds made one final push in hopes of tying the game and pushing it into overtime. In the 88th minute, sophomore defenseman Sam Carter threatened to do just that, sending a shot hurdling towards the goal. It sailed above the bar, though, and the Panthers maintained their slim lead coming into the final few minutes.
Then, with a minute remaining, the Greyhounds won a corner. With this clearly their last opportunity to tie the game, Vosvick left the net and sprinted down to get in the box. He was able to get a head on the ball, but it was a weak one and the Panthers escaped with a win.
The Panthers are now 2-2 on the season and will head home to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels to start ACC play. The game kicks off Saturday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The game will be a tough test for the Panthers, as UNC comes in ranked No. 3 in the NCAA coaches’ poll.