Highmark Stadium welcomes Pitt fans as temporary women’s lacrosse home


Hannah Wilson | Staff Photographer

Highmark Stadium, the new home of Pitt women’s lacrosse, provides the crowd with a great view of Pittsburgh’s downtown, as well as a large bar and a variety of dining options.

By Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

The upstart Pitt women’s lacrosse team announced a deal with Highmark Stadium on Sept. 13 — confirming it as the Panthers’ home turf for their inaugural season. Lacrosse is one of just a few teams in Pitt history to play its home games off campus. The demolition of Pitt Stadium in 1999 forced football to move their home games to Three Rivers Stadium in 2000 and eventually Heinz Field in 2001, and both soccer teams to play at Founders Field in Cheswick until Ambrose Urbanic Field was completed in 2011.

The Panthers hosted their first-ever playday on their new field on Sunday against crosstown rival Duquesne. The scenic views of both the Monongahela River and Pittsburgh skyline wowed players and coaches alike. Duquesne head coach Corinne Desrosiers enjoyed her first visit.

“I’ve never actually been here before, it’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s definitely an awesome facility, and we were fortunate to play here today.”

The stadium can seat 5,000 people, the majority of which is situated in the main grandstand, facing the City skyline. The seats in that section spell out the word “HOUNDS,” a reference to the main tenants of the venue — the Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer team. Highmark also hosts both the men’s and women’s soccer teams for Point Park and Carlow universities.

But sitting in the grandstands is not the only seating option in the venue. There are seats that align with the right goal line that are normally reserved for the Steel Army — the official supporter group of the Riverhounds. These seats face away from the Pittsburgh skyline, and provide a view of the nearby Ft. Pitt bridge.

There are also two rows of seats on the other side of the field across from the main grandstands, that run up right along the touch line. Pitt has not yet announced if paid tickets will be required for its lacrosse games, though admission to last Sunday’s playday was free and open to the public.

But there’s more to Highmark than just its view of Downtown. The stadium itself and surrounding area has amenities that makes it a popular venue for local teams. Pitt head coach Emily Boissonneault was impressed with the setting and said her squad felt right at home during their preseason banquet last week.

“The views are really great, and the girls were really excited to have a home,” she said. “We had our banquet here on Friday night, so everyone saw the facility and it went really well.”

Like any professional stadium, there are several options within Highmark that offer food. The most extensive array of options can be found at the 2,200-square-foot bar that sits off to the side of the pitch, complete with two television sets and a full complement of drinks available at the bar. The menu consists of basic stadium food such as chicken tenders and fries, burgers, chicken sandwiches and hot dogs.

All in all, the stadium has a wide selection of eats to satisfy fans’ immediate hunger, and for those who want to dine before or after a game, there are several options only minutes away. This includes a branch of The Melting Pot, a fondue-based restaurant that serves melted cheese, among other things. There is also a branch of the Brazilian steakhouse Texas de Brazil, and a Japanese restaurant called Kiku.

Eating options aside, Boissonneault is excited to kick off Pitt’s first-ever lacrosse season at its new venue.

“The facility is going to be a great place to watch college lacrosse,” she said. “We are looking forward to launching our inaugural season of Pitt lacrosse at Highmark Stadium.”

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that Pitt lacrosse and football are not the only two teams to have played home games off campus.