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Pitt women’s soccer tops Morehead State in double overtime

Freshman Anna Rico has emerged as an early standout

It took the Pitt women’s soccer team two overtime periods, but it emerged victorious from its matchup with Morehead State on Sunday to remain undefeated two games into the season. The 1-0 win came courtesy of a late goal from Panthers freshman Anna Rico, and it kept first-year Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum’s record flawless for the time being.

“[For Anna, it’s been] two games, two goals for us already,” Waldrum said during a postgame interview. “We knew when we got her that that’s the kind of player we were getting. She, individually, can change the game. She can break it down, she can play with the team, but then when you need a moment like then, she’s always looking for a goal.”

Rico was a clear standout for Pitt on Sunday, as she outshot the entire Morehead State team, getting off nine against the Eagles and putting six of those on goal. Morehead State was only able to muster six in the contest, four of which were fended off by Pitt goalkeeper Amaia Pena. And as Waldrum noted in his interview, Rico also contributed a key goal in Pitt’s last game.

Of course, while Rico has established herself as one the Panthers’ top contributors early in the season, the team as a whole put forth a largely frustrating display for much of the game, dominating possession but failing to convert chances into goals for over 100 minutes Sunday.

While such a performance would be understandable against one of the many stifling defenses of the ACC, Morehead State, an Ohio Valley Conference team that went 3-13-1 last season, seemed like it ought to have been an easier out for Pitt. However, the Panthers were also only able to win three games in 2017, so the gulf in talent may not be as wide as many might assume.

In any case, Pitt will have to shake off any remaining rust ahead of its next matchup, which will come against Kent State in less than a week. Historically, the Golden Flashes have been a difficult team for the Panthers to deal with, as they’ve topped Pitt twice in the last two years. In fact, Pitt has played Kent State five times in the last decade, and its last win came in 2009.

The Panthers will host the Golden Flashes at Ambrose Urbanic Field at 5 p.m. on Friday.