Great things are expected of the Pitt men’s soccer team this season, as Panthers head coach Jay Vidovich has the team trending in a positive direction for the first time in years. However, the team failed to live up to expectations in its season opener against Colgate at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday night, as the Panthers ultimately fell to the Patriot League squad 1-0.
”It was a good starting point,” Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich said in a postgame interview. “I think it was a great test for our guys coming in against a team that has experience winning championships and in NCAA tournament play. … It was a tight first half, and in the second half, I think we had our chances to finish the game and win the game, and unfortunately, we didn’t.”
The Panthers held an 11-7 lead in shots in the tight matchup and particularly upped the pressure in the second half, when they reeled off nine shots to the Raiders’ four. Despite that specific advantage, they were undone by a 74th-minute goal from Colgate’s Freddy Jonsson.
One positive for Pitt was the fact that sophomore forward Edward Kizza was at the center of several great chances, even though he and the Panthers were ultimately unable to capitalize. By the end of the night, the forward had gotten off five shots and put four of those on goal.
As Vidovich noted, the Raiders are not an especially easy out, as they enjoyed a decent run in the NCAA tournament in 2017, topping UMass and Michigan last November before falling 2-0 to Louisville. Colgate also entered Friday’s matchup ranked as the No. 25 team in the country in the United Coaches Soccer poll, which also had Pitt receiving nine votes.
All things considered, a 1-0 loss to a team of Colgate’s caliber is not unexpected for a team like Pitt that is still working on becoming a genuine contender. But the outcome is certainly disappointing after the Panthers played the Raiders tough for more than 70 minutes Friday.
The Panthers will be back in action on Monday, when they head to Newark, Delaware, to take on a Delaware Blue Hens team that opened its season with a 1-0 loss to Villanova.