The Pitt News

Men’s soccer defeats no. 14 Columbia, 1-0, improves to winning record

Alexander+Dexter%2C+Pitt+freshman+forward%2C+had+one+goal+in+the+team%27s+matchup+against+Columbia.+%28Photo+by+Thomas+Yang+%7C+Staff+Photographer%29
Alexander Dexter, Pitt freshman forward, had one goal in the team's matchup against Columbia. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Alexander Dexter, Pitt freshman forward, had one goal in the team's matchup against Columbia. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

Alexander Dexter, Pitt freshman forward, had one goal in the team's matchup against Columbia. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

By Grant Burgman | Staff Writer

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The Pitt men’s soccer team won their second consecutive game against a ranked opponent on Tuesday night. The Panthers (6-5-0) shut out No. 14 Columbia 1-0, handing the Lions (5-1-2) their first loss of the season.

The game was Pitt’s third win in a row after last week’s big wins over West Virginia and No. 21 ranked Syracuse last week. The Panthers brought their record to 6-5 on the season and have gained significant momentum heading into the last six games of the season.

The Lions outshot the Panthers 15-7, but Pitt boasted both a strong defense and opportunistic offense, capitalizing on the few scoring opportunities they had and keeping their goal safe from scoring from the opposition.

Columbia dominated the first half of the game early on. The Lions held steady possession throughout and registered the first two corner kicks of the night.

Pitt’s defense was up to the task, heading and clearing out both of the first two corners of the night. Panther defenders spent most of their time near their own goal box, wrestling with Columbia forwards in the box.

The Panthers kept the game level — despite being outshot 5-2 through the first 30 minutes of the game —- thanks to a consistent first half performance by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt. Outcalt had two saves and faced three corner kicks during the first half alone.

In the 41st minute, Pitt first-year forward Alexander Dexter found the back of the net with a chip from a difficult angle in the left side of the box to put the Panthers up 1-0.

The goal was Dexter’s third of the season, tying him with first-year Colin Brezniak for second most on the team this season. Dexter’s goal also broke Columbia’s streak of three straight shutouts.

Entering the second half down a goal, Columbia came out firing, outshooting the Panthers again.

Pitt’s defense was the difference maker in the latter portion of the match, as they blocked four shots — racking up six total on the game. Despite Columbia’s 15-shot outburst, only three made it on net.

Pitt’s stout defense largely kept the Lions out of the box in the second half, forcing them to take long distance shots that continuously sailed over the net.

The Panthers played a more disciplined game as well, with the Lions committing 13 fouls, while Pitt only committed four. It was just the second game this season Pitt kept their fouls under 10.

Columbia’s fouls took their toll on Pitt as well with senior Pol Planellas taking a clip to the back of his ankle in the 87th minute, leading to his early exit.

The Panthers have already trumped last year’s win total with six. This also marks their second win against a ranked team this season, while last year’s team didn’t register a single win against a ranked opponent.

Tuesday’s game continued a trend for this year’s Panthers as once again it was a first-year goal scorer that secured the win. All three of Pitt’s top scorers this season — Edward Kizza, Brezniak and Dexter — are freshmen forwards. Through Tuesday, 11 of the 16 goals scored by the men’s team this year have been scored by first-year students.

This Friday, Pitt will play the No. 19 Duke Blue Devils at home. This will be their fifth ACC opponent of the season and their sixth match against a ranked opponent. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

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Men’s soccer defeats no. 14 Columbia, 1-0, improves to winning record