Men’s soccer kicks losing streak, wins to Temple, 3-2


Knox Coulter | Staff Photographer

First-year midfielder Rodrigo Almeida winds up a pass during the Panthers’ 3-2 victory over Temple Sunday night.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

On a cold, windy, rainy Monday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field, the Pitt men’s soccer team beat the weather and its two-game losing streak in a 3-2 win against Temple.

The Panthers (7-7) managed to strike early and bounce back after Temple (4-7-3) equalized early in the second half to show how lethal their attack was. Pitt also managed to play better defensively than they had in the two previous matches.

The first half started quickly as Temple got the first chance of the game in the third minute. First-year midfielder Andres Charles-Barrera managed to get his shot on goal, but it ended up being more of a ground pass to first-year keeper Alexander Steinbach than an actual shot.

The Panthers’ first chance came in the seventh minute when redshirt senior defender Robby Dambrot got the inside of his left leg to make contact with a ball from a corner, but it ended up going wide right.

In the 12th minute, Temple first-year forward Elias Hellgren Villegas got his head on a ball from a corner, but it was blocked out by sophomore defender Jose Luis Sena Arbona. On the next corner, the ball fell to Temple’s senior midfielder Hermann Doerner and he proceeded to sky it way over the goal.

Temple almost had a solid chance to score in the 14th minute after sophomore forward Justin Hahn broke free of the Pitt defense, but he was called offside.

Dambrot had another good chance in the 24th minute when he got a beautiful through ball from sophomore defender Sena Arbona, but Temple junior goalkeeper Simon Lefebvre scooped it up quickly.

The Panthers were given the best chance of the game after Dambrot was taken down in the box by junior defender Akeem Prawl, awarding them a penalty kick. Senior midfielder Javi Perez powered his shot into the bottom right corner to give Pitt a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.

Perez, who scored a penalty kick last game at Virginia Tech, says that he has been practicing penalty kicks a lot lately and throughout the entire season.

“Especially Louisville when I missed that one, when we had a chance to go up one, and then they scored a goal,” Perez said. “After that game, I’ve been focusing out here training and trying to get it better and right.”

Temple junior midfielder Nick Sarver had a sneaky backheader in the 30th minute that surprised Steinbach, who quickly hit it away and it was cleared out by Perez.

Pitt had one more chance to score in the first half in the 34th minute. Redshirt first-year midfielder Fiorre Mane was able to get the ball on the right corner in the box and made a good cross to an open Dambrot, who had a chance to score after some great footwork but ended up kicking it over the bar.

Temple midfielder junior Zach Brown came close to scoring in the 40th minute as his header resulted in Steinbach failing to catch it, but the ball ultimately went in the side netting and out for another corner.

Second Half

The Owls made some quick halftime adjustments and equalized in the 50th minute. A pass from Fernandes was deflected by the outstretched right foot of Sena Arbona and ended up at the feet of Hellgren Villegas, who easily pushed it by Steinbach to level it at one.

Pitt almost scored directly afterwards as Mane took ball away from Doerner and then made a swift pass to Dambrot, who had plenty of space to take a good shot but ended up putting it right of the goal.

There was a shaky clearance by Steinbach in the 57th minute after he got a ball from Sena Arbona and took a whiff, kicking it straight in the air. Hellgren Villegas headed it from outside the box, but it was easy for Steinbach to save.

The Panthers took the lead back in the 62nd minute off a goal from sophomore forward Alexander Dexter. Dexter drove down the field and passed it to Perez, who delivered a cross on the left that was headed by Sarver. Dexter met it, taking it on his chest and hitting the ball down to get it past Lefebvre, making the score 2-1.

The Owls were close to an equalizer a minute later. Doerner made a quick pass to senior midfielder Behal Mohamed who then put the ball right to Hahn, but Hahn ended up shooting the ball way over the goal. Temple had another chance after Andres Charles-Barerra sent a long ball to Mohamed that they almost connected with, but Steinbach got to the ball before Mohamed could.

After the two Temple chances, Pitt had a chance to extend the lead. Senior midfielder Joshua Gasparri controlled the ball after a cross was headed out by Temple and passed it to first-year midfielder Jackson Walti. He cut in with his right and shot with his left, but it was right at Lefebvre.

The Panthers didn’t make a mistake on their next scoring chance as they extended their lead by two goals following a goal by sophomore forward Edward Kizza. Dexter absolutely dumbfounded Prawl with a nutmeg, drove down the left side of the box and made a beautiful pass to Kizza who tapped it in for a 3-1 lead in the 67th minute. Kizza also took a hard volley in the 69th minute that went right into the gloves of Lefebvre, who was ready for the shot.

For Kizza, that was his 12th goal of the season, which puts him at sixth all time for most goals in a season as a Panther. Kizza is happy that he is as high as he is now, but is more focused on helping the team win games in anyway he can.

“I think I’m just trying to do my job then maybe at the end of the season I can look at the record books and my achievements,” Kizza said. “I just have to keep working and see how far I can get down in the history books.”

Gasparri offered yet another chance for Pitt as he took a long shot on goal in the 71st minute, requiring Lefebvre to dive right to get a hand on it and push it out for a corner. Senior defender Tom Moxham got a head on the corner, but it was an easy save for Lefebvre.

The Owls finally had another opportunity in the 80th minute when junior midfielder Leandro Lillis took a long shot that went way wide right. Right after that chance, they ended up getting a goal back to cut the deficit to one. Fernandes found himself free in the box after a pass by Hellgren Villegas and managed to get the ball past Steinbach it was shot in the back of the net by Panthers senior defender Peter Prescott for an own goal to make it 3-2.

Temple began going on complete offensive overdrive in order to get a goal to level the match. Lillis had the opportunity to score with a header off a cross from Mohamed, but it instead bounced right to Steinbach in the 85th minute. Hellgren Villegas had a shot in the 87th minute from outside the box but it was weak and went wide right.

Mohamed made a great cross to Fernandes, who had his shot blocked by senior defender Craig Bair in the 88th minute. Bair then made two more big blocks, one on a cross by Fernandes and then using his face to stop Doerner from scoring the equalizer. Sarver shot the rebound way over the goal, which was the last chance for the Owls and resulted in a Panthers’ win.

Pitt faces a tough schedule coming up as they will travel to Duke on Friday, WVU on Oct. 23 and finish off the regular season against a great Notre Dame team at home on Oct. 26. Head coach Jay Vidovich says that they need to “maximize all the points possible” and limit mistakes going forward if they want to win against these teams.

“For me, I think we’ve been our own worst enemy,” Vidovich said. “Today our individual mistakes could have cost us. So we’ll just have to pull our way through, calm our heads and we need a cushion, but with these games coming up, we aren’t going to get that cushion. So we’re just going to have to learn on the fly.”