Arvas and Hannesdottir score to push Pitt past Robert Morris


By Kevin Wheeler / Staff Writer

Although the goals for the Pitt women’s soccer team came late, they came quickly. 

The Panthers defeated the Robert Morris University Colonials Wednesday in every stage of the game and two back-to-back goals secured their 3-1 victory at Ambrose Urbanic Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.

The main concerns of head coach Greg Miller coming into the game was his offense’s ability to keep possession of the ball. To his delight, the Pitt offense seemed to be in control of the game from start to finish and quickly became the catalyst for the team’s overall energy throughout the game. The offense kept the ball in the Robert Morris half, which gave Pitt’s defense the ability to clear the ball in the rare times that it did cross midfield. The Panthers (2-1) recorded 23 shots on goal and 14 corner kicks, versus only six shots and one corner kick for the Colonials.

This is unusual for Pitt’s offense, considering it has been such a glaring weakness for the team in the past. The offense has put up three goals per game in two of its three games thus far — getting shut out in between — showing that the finishing ability is present, but it just isn’t consistent.

Miller was happy with the three goals, but wants his team to capitalize on opportunities when they’re given to them.

“When we did it and the way we did it isn’t exactly great,” Miller said. “We didn’t exercise enough patience tonight. I thought we were a little bit too frantic and trying to force things.”

The team squandered a lot of opportunities, which he knows could hurt them in the future with a brutal conference schedule that includes last year’s national runner up and another team that made the final four, among other NCAA tournament teams.

“You can have possession and have a lot of corners and take a lot of shots but, at the end of the day, you need to put the ball in the goal and we didn’t do that effectively enough,” Miller said. “We didn’t put the game away when we should have … and we can’t afford to do that going forward.”

Roosa Arvas, a junior midfielder/forward, led the Panthers with two goals. 

In the 52nd minute, freshman forward Taylor Pryce drove the ball up the right side of the field and fired a shot that deflected off of Arvas and a Colonial defender. The ball rolled just out of the reach of Beck Schoenecker, the RMU goalkeeper, to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead and control of the game. Arvas was credited with the goal on the play.

But the lead wouldn’t last. The Colonials launched a fully focused offensive attack and broke through Pitt’s defensive wall in the 71st minute. RMU sophomore midfielder/forward Antonia Grese launched a pass up field to Erin Ritzer, who fired a shot that hit the back left corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1.

Despite the continued efforts by Robert Morris to penetrate the Pitt defense, the Panthers retook the lead. Pushing the ball up the right side, senior forward Alex Charlebois punched a crossing pass to the middle of the field, where Arvas was waiting to slam a header into the back of the net to put the Panthers up 2-1 with just more than four minutes remaining in the contest.

Arvas explained what turned out to be the game-winning goal from her view on the field.

“I just saw Alex coming with the ball and I started screaming ‘Alex, Alex,’” Arvas said. “It was just the perfect ball right at my head and I just had to place it.”

Freshman Hanna Hannesdottir added her first career goal in the 89th minute to seal the win for Pitt, finishing off a pass from classmate Ashley Moreira.

“Once the ball started going around to Carly, then Ashley, I saw the run opening up and I just took it,” Hannesdottir said. “It was pretty exciting and I obviously celebrated when I scored it.”

As for senior captain and starting defender Jackie Poucel, who sat out the game after experiencing concussion-like symptoms in the team’s game against Duquesne on Sunday, Miller could see that her presence was missed. But it was a game the Panthers could afford to be without her.

“Having [Jackie] in here provides leadership, some organization and calmness,” Miller said. “I think [the defense] did a pretty good job, all things considered, but we’re anxious to have her back in the lineup.”

Miller also said that all signs point to Poucel returning to the lineup on Friday night when the Panthers take on the University of Toledo in Ohio. Poucel has been cleared by doctors and will work out tomorrow in order to confirm she is free of said symptoms.

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