Men’s Soccer: Looking for first win of season, Pitt travels to Virginia

Mens Soccer: Looking for first win of season, Pitt travels to Virginia

By Andrew Stern / Staff Writer

Pitt men’s soccer enters Charlottesville, Va., tonight in search of the team’s first conference victory as the Panthers face Virginia (5-3-1, 1-2-1 ACC) at 7 p.m.

Series history

The game will be the third ACC road contest for the Panthers (0-5-2, 0-4-0 ACC) this season. The two teams have squared off three times in the history of the two programs, with the last game occurring 11 years ago. In that last meeting, Virginia defeated Pitt 2-0.

Pitt’s season to date

The Panthers have had a rough season through seven contests, as the team has yet to win a game all season. On Tuesday evening, the Panthers lost one of the most difficult games of the year when they fell by a score of 2-1 to Xavier. In the process, the Panthers had a goal disallowed by a referee and missed a penalty kick. 

“Last game we got unlucky a little bit, but ultimately we were not good enough,” junior midfielder Michael Tuohy said.

In five ACC games this season, the Panthers have been outscored 7-1. Pitt has reinforced that awful goal differential by scoring more than one goal in just one game this season. The Panthers have leaned heavily on sophomore keeper Dan Lynd, who has recorded 43 saves this season.

Virginia’s season to date

Virginia, which is a 4-1-1 at its home venue of Klockner Stadium, has played an extremely difficult schedule. The most recent victory was an overtime win over 23rd-ranked VCU. The lone conference win for the Cavaliers was a 2-0 victory at Syracuse. Virginia has scored 19 times in nine games this season. Virginia has not been defeated in five consecutive matches, and the team has compiled a 4-0-1 record over that stretch.

Key matchup

If the Panthers want to come away with a victory against the tough Virginia squad, they must be able to shut down junior midfielder Eric Bird. This season, Bird has tallied four goals and three assists. His 11 points are a team best and also rank as the second-highest point total in the ACC. On Tuesday, Bird scored the winning goal against No. 23 VCU.

“Virginia is another ACC team, and the ACC [competition] level is high, that we’re going to have to be at our best to get a victory,” Tuohy said. “The last [loss] hurt, so we’re going to have to forget it and move on.”