Weekend sports recap: Women’s soccer wins first four games, volleyball drops opener against San Diego


Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt players celebrate a goal at Thursday’s game against UMass at Pitt’s Ambrose Urbanic Field.

By Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

As students moved in and prepared for their classes, Pitt athletes were already hard at work preparing for their season openers, highlighted by the Backyard Brawl’s 11-year football hiatus ending. However, the other Pitt sports had their fair share of competition to kick off the school year. Here’s how they did.

Women’s Soccer:

The Panthers (4-0-0, 0-0 ACC) started their season with a trip to Missoula, Montana, for the Rumble in the Rockies. They defeated Gonzaga 1-0 on Aug. 18 thanks to a 57th-minute goal by senior forward Amanda West. The stats were nearly even in most categories — the Bulldogs slightly outshot the Panthers 17-16, and doubled them in shots on goal 10-5. Despite the pressure, senior goalkeeper Caitlyn Lazzarini stood on her head and stopped all 10 shots to keep the score at 1-0 until the final whistle.

West scored again in the second game against host Montana, but this time the Panthers got insurance. Sophomore midfielder Bri Hilsenteger scored the second goal in the 80th minute, while the Pitt defense gave Lazzarini a comparative rest between the posts, allowing only three shots on net — she saved all three. Pitt defeated the Grizzlies 2-0 en route to clinching the Rumble.

West’s two-goal performance in the Rumble earned her ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors. 

Pitt traveled back to the Steel City for its home opener against UMass and dominated its opponent in every aspect of the game. Their 6-1 victory capped off a match where the Panthers registered five times as many shots as the Minutemen (35-7) and six times as many shots on goal (18-3).

The Panthers finished their weekend with a win against Cleveland State. They handled business last year with a 5-0 shutout victory at home, but they one-upped themselves this year with a 6-0 win on the road. West scored her fifth goal in four games, while first-year midfielder Fleming Dean scored consecutive goals, her first two collegiate tallies. The Vikings, on the other hand, managed just one shot on goal through the entire 90 minutes.

Pitt will come back home to face Kent State on Wednesday. ACC Network Extra will broadcast the game at 7 p.m.

Men’s Soccer:

The no. 8 Panthers drew an immediate challenge for their season-opener — 2019 national champion and second-ranked Georgetown. A record 2,000 people watched the match at Ambrose Urbanic Field, which was the first on-campus sporting event for the 2022-23 year.

The game started with three goals in the first 10 minutes, including two goals in 30 seconds. Georgetown junior defender Kenny Nielson and Pitt junior forward Bertin Jacquesson both scored in the fifth minute, while senior midfielder Valentin Noel scored in the 11th minute.

The score remained 2-1 for the rest of the game and Pitt came out on top, though the Hoyas had their chances in the last 45 minutes. Pitt senior goalkeeper Joe van der Sar parried away all three shots on goal in the half.

Pitt will host no. 6 West Virginia on Monday as a Brawl appetizer for the big matchup on the football field later that week. The ACC Network will broadcast the game starting at 7 p.m.


No. 6 Pitt started the 2022 campaign with a trip to the College Station Invitational over the weekend, eight months after its heartbreaking defeat in the national semifinals. The Panthers’ season opener was a ranked matchup with no. 25 San Diego last Friday, but they couldn’t find their bearings and lost to the Toreros three sets to two

Despite 16 kills from redshirt-junior outside hitter Valeria Vazquez Gomez, Pitt underperformed after the second set. In the third set the team collected more errors (9) than kills (7). San Diego senior setter Grace Frohling led the game with 19 kills and graduate student setter Gabby Blossom racked up a whopping 53 assists.

The Panthers bounced back with a sweep against Hawaii in the second game of the invitational on Saturday. Vazquez Gomez led the match with 12 kills, while graduate student outside hitter Cam Ennis and sophomore setter Rachel Faribanks each collected 16 assists. Pitt also swept host Texas A&M on the final day of the invitational on the back of Fairbanks’ 13 kills, 15 assists and 11 digs. Her triple-double was Pitt’s first since then-senior setter Azadeh Boroumand (11k, 35a, 12d) accomplished the feat against Southeast Missouri State in 2006.

For their next game, the Panthers will travel to Provo, Utah, on Friday for the BYU invitational and face off against River City rival Cincinnati.