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Pitt men's soccer ACC woes continue in 4-0 loss to Wake Forest - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Pitt men’s soccer ACC woes continue in 4-0 loss to Wake Forest

Dan+Lynd+had+his+Pitt+record+scoreless+minutes+streak+snapped+at+386+in+the+4-0+loss+to+Wake+Forest.+%7C+Jeff+Ahearn+%2F+Assistant+Visual+Editor
Dan Lynd had his Pitt record scoreless minutes streak snapped at 386 in the 4-0 loss to Wake Forest. | Jeff Ahearn / Assistant Visual Editor

Dan Lynd had his Pitt record scoreless minutes streak snapped at 386 in the 4-0 loss to Wake Forest. | Jeff Ahearn / Assistant Visual Editor

Dan Lynd had his Pitt record scoreless minutes streak snapped at 386 in the 4-0 loss to Wake Forest. | Jeff Ahearn / Assistant Visual Editor

By Adam Richman / For The Pitt News

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The rain and Pitt’s ACC hopes fell hard Saturday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

Squaring off at home against No. 14 Wake Forest, Pitt’s men’s soccer team fell in a one-sided competition, continuing its conference losing streak since it joined the ACC in 2013. The final score was 4-0 Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest entered the game with a 4-0-0 record, compared to Pitt’s 3-0-1.

The loss ended the Panthers’ three-game winning streak — all in non-conference games — as well as Pitt goalie Dan Lynd’s shutout streak. Lynd had opened the season with four consecutive shutouts, which made him the program leader in consecutive shutout minutes with 386. Pitt tied Lafayette 0-0 on Aug. 28 before reeling of its three wins.

After heavily possessing the ball and failing to convert on a few opportunities because of offside calls down the field, Demon Deacon midfielder Michael Gamble managed to find the net just 5:29 into the game.

Gamble powered down the left side and scored on a low cross from defender Kris Reaves to make the score 1-0 Wake Forest.

Pitt head coach Joe Luxbacher said Gamble’s score defined the rest of the night.

“Giving up that early goal set the tone for the whole game,” he said. “We had to play catch-up.”

But the growing pains didn’t end there, and Pitt continued to struggle.

Unable to possess the ball for more than a few seconds at a time, the Panthers couldn’t seem to find an offensive rhythm. The team often sat back on defense hoping to strike on a counterattack. When that moment did come, Pitt turned the ball over to the faster and stronger play of the Demon Deacons’ defense.

“Giving up that early goal set the tone for the whole game. We had to play catch-up.”

Turnovers established Wake Forrest’s success — and Pitt’s lack-there-of — in the first half.

“In games up until today, we did a pretty good job [holding the ball],” Luxbacher said. “But today, I don’t know if it’s the nervousness of being in the ACC, but we gave the ball up under no pressure at times. That was a major factor [in the loss].”

The one silver lining of the first half for Pitt came on a Wake Forest turnover. After the Panthers stole the ball away, forward Kevin Angulo received a pass across the middle of the field about 30 yards from the goal.

However, a Wake Forest defender tackled him as he dribbled toward the net at the corner of the penalty box. The referees remained silent despite angry cries from Pitt fans.

Toward the end of the first half, Pitt finally seemed to find an offensive groove. The team’s passes were coming out cleaner and faster, and it managed to possess the ball for longer periods of time.

Despite the stronger play, Wake Forest stayed in-control. After another turnover by Pitt, midfielder Steven Echevarria scored from the right side off a pass from midfielder Jack Harrison, increasing Wake Forest’s lead to 2-0.

Lynd criticized the squad’s poor defensive play.

“There’s no excuse for the way we defended,” he said. “We were just sloppy all around, so we’re just going to have to watch the film to improve.”

In the second half, offensive turnovers continued to plague the team.

Whenever the Panthers jumped out on the attack, misguided passes and faster play from Wake Forest sent them right back onto defense.

“We were giving up the ball needlessly at times,” Luxbacher said. “You work so hard to get [the ball], you just want to keep it, but it was just one of those games where we could never catch up.”

In the 70th minute, the game stretched out of the Panthers’ reach. After a low cross from the right side by Harrison, the ball deflected off of Lynd and bounced directly in front of the net. Wake Forest forward Tane Gent raced toward the ball and chipped it over Lynd, giving his team a 3-0 lead.

Shortly afterward, a finessed, top-corner shot by midfielder Ricky Greensfelder iced the win for Wake Forest.

With the loss, Pitt has a 3-1-1 record. Luxbacher said the team “is capable of playing much better soccer.”

The team plays next at Boston College on Sept. 19.

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Pitt men’s soccer ACC woes continue in 4-0 loss to Wake Forest