Pitt men’s soccer stymies Howard, 6-0

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Pitt men’s soccer stymies Howard, 6-0

 First-year midfielder Valentin Noel (08) put up the first goal on Howard during Pitt’s 6-0 victory over Howard.

First-year midfielder Valentin Noel (08) put up the first goal on Howard during Pitt’s 6-0 victory over Howard.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

First-year midfielder Valentin Noel (08) put up the first goal on Howard during Pitt’s 6-0 victory over Howard.

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

First-year midfielder Valentin Noel (08) put up the first goal on Howard during Pitt’s 6-0 victory over Howard.

By Elliott Borawski, Staff Writer

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The Pitt men’s soccer team (5-4-2) dominated the Howard Bison (2-7-1) by a score of 6-0 at Ambrose Urbanic Field Monday night, thoroughly outshooting its opponent 30-2. The lopsided victory served as a confidence booster for the Panthers after a close loss to No. 20 UNC last Friday.

Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich said after the game that the play of junior defender Bryce Washington and first-year defender Arturo Ordonez was crucial to the team’s success.

“The way we marked up defensively … They knew we had to start getting that organized, so I think they just did a very good job of organizing the whole group, and the willingness of the front-runners to press and defend, as well,” Vidovich said. “So it was just a great group effort.”

The Panthers controlled the pace in the first half, outshooting the Bison 15-2. This included five shots on goal compared to only one by Howard.

First-year midfielder Veljko Petkovic offered up Pitt’s first shot on a free kick in the fourth minute, but it was saved by senior Howard goalkeeper Carlos Caro. The Panthers took an early lead in the 10th minute on a highlight-reel goal from first-year midfielder Valentin Noel, assisted by Petkovic. It came from a free kick on the left side, where Petkovic received the pass from Noel and passed it right back to him for a long, bending shot into the top right corner of the net.

Pitt scored again soon after in the 16th minute. Petkovic crossed a perfectly placed pass from the left side into the box, where junior forward Edward Kizza finished the play with a diving header goal.

“I have a good relationship with Veljko and once he got the ball, I started to run,” Kizza said. “And he was able to find me. I was in the right position, right timing, and just got the goal.”

Pitt found openings like this with ease all night, getting two more shots on goal before the period ended. The Panthers led 2-0 at the half behind a strong effort from the defense, which only allowed two shots — a deflection in the 25th minute and a save by redshirt junior goalkeeper Arie Ammann in the 42nd minute.

Pitt only improved its play in the second half, putting 12 of its 15 shots on goal and scoring four of them. With Caro out of the net following a scramble in the 49th minute, Howard had an exceptional team save on sophomore midfielder Rodrigo Almeida. But Almeida got his chance again in the 61st minute, this time netting a goal from long distance.

Despite being up by three goals, the Panthers stayed aggressive until the final whistle. A minute after Almeida’s goal, Pitt scored again on a goal from Kizza, set up by junior forward Alexander Dexter. It came on a play that was seemingly going to end up in Howard’s possession in its own zone. But Dexter showed extreme hustle, stealing the ball in the opposite zone and creating the wide-open shot for Kizza.

With a comfortable lead, Pitt found the opportunity to play some of its reserve players, but those players did not shy away from the moment. First-year defender Anthony Harding scored a goal in the 85th minute, assisted by redshirt sophomore Chad Stout. Redshirt freshman midfielder Alec Townsend also contributed a goal in the 88th minute, ending the game with a score of 6-0. Both goals marked the first of the season for each player.

Pitt will look to build off of this positive performance when Virginia Tech visits on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Hokies are 6-2-2 on the year and coming off a tie against the Clemson Tigers.

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