Weekend Sports Recap: Soccer teams contrast triumph and tribulation

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Joy Cao | Staff Photographer

Junior forward Edward Kizza (9) charges after the ball against Duke on Friday night.

By Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

This weekend in Pitt sports saw both highs and heartbreaks with the men’s and women’s soccer teams, as both programs continue their runs through the gauntlet of ACC competition. But as the soccer season began winding down, Pitt wrestling was only beginning its season by hosting an intrasquad scrimmage at the Fitzgerald Field House. And to no one’s surprise, No. 3 Pitt volleyball steamrolled some of the conference’s stronger teams.

Men’s Soccer

It was a special senior night for Pitt, as it continued its breakout season in the ACC with an essential 4-3 comeback win over the Duke Blue Devils on Friday night.

After going down 3-0 in the first half, the Panthers scored off the foot of junior forward Edward Kizza in the 41st minute, his team leading ninth of the season.

They continued their comeback in the second half with first-year midfielder Veljko Petkovic scoring off a header in the 55th minute to cut the lead to one. Then, sophomore midfielder Jackson Walti delivered a cross that ended up going into the goal in the 63rd minute to level the game at three.

The winning goal came in the 86th minute after junior forward Alexander Dexter popped up in the box on a cross and stuck the ball in the back of the net, giving them the lead and also the victory. The win brings Pitt to 8-5-2 overall and 4-2-1 in ACC conference play, which, after the Duke win, strengthens their case to be included in next week’s top-25 polls.

Their four wins this season alone are also equal to the number of ACC wins men’s soccer reached during the entirety of head coach Jay Vidovich’s tenure. With this recent win the Panthers improve to second in the Coastal division and fourth in the overall ACC standings.

Next up, the Panthers will wrap up their regular season on the road against Notre Dame this Friday.

Women’s Soccer

In a crucial ACC matchup at Clemson Sunday afternoon, where the Panthers tried to keep their ACC tournament hopes alive, they suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in overtime.

After falling behind 2-0, Pitt came back with two goals in four minutes, with midfielders redshirt sophomore Vildan Kardesler and first-year Krystyna Rytel scoring in the 65th and 69th minute to tie the game.

The game ended up going into overtime — where the first team to score would win the game on the golden goal. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Tigers scored a goal in the 92nd minute, winning the game 3-2.

This comes mere days following another overtime loss last Thursday night at Wake Forest. With the loss, the Panthers drop to 5-9-3 overall and 2-5-2 in the ACC and are in 10th place in the ACC.

The Pitt women will play their final game of the regular season at Ambrose Urbanic on Thursday — senior night — against Virginia Tech.

Volleyball

Panthers volleyball swept both road ACC matches this weekend, with 3-0 wins over Notre Dame on Friday night in Louisville on Sunday afternoon.

With their pair of victories, the Panthers move to 21-1 overall and 10-0 in the ACC, with the sweeps totaling to 16 on the season. The sweeps also continue the streak of Pitt not dropping a set since the game against Florida State, winning their last 17.

Against Notre Dame, redshirt senior outside hitter Stephanie Williams notched the 1,000th dig of her career. Williams is only the third player to reach the millennium mark for digs in program history.

Pitt will return home for more ACC play at the Fitzgerald Field House next weekend, hosting Wake Forest on Friday and Duke the following Sunday.

Wrestling

The Panthers kicked off their 2019-20 season with an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night at the Fitzgerald Field House. In a meet between the Blue and Gold squads, the Gold team came away with a 22-19 win.

Taleb Rahmani, a 2018 NCAA qualifier and redshirt senior, led the Blue team with a 10-0 decision over the Gold team’s redshirt first-year Will Kaldes in the 157 weight class. The Gold team clinched the victory with a 19-19 tiebreaker after 2019 NCAA qualifier Demetrius Thomas defeated junior Cole Rickett in the 285 weight class.

Pitt will open up its regular season next Saturday Nov. 2 on the road in East Lansing, Michigan, at the Michigan State Open.

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