The Pitt women’s soccer team returned from its ill-fated trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to face crosstown rivals Duquesne on Thursday night, and in the team’s first match at Ambrose Urbanic Field since Aug. 26, the Panthers were able to shut out the Dukes 2-0.
While Pitt suffered its first and second losses of the season in its matchups with TCU and North Texas, respectively, it was able to rebound and extend its home unbeaten streak to five games.
”It’s always good to play at home, that’s for sure, and we had a great crowd tonight again,” Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum said in a postgame interview. “We had two tough games on the road, and we knew coming in here that Duquesne was off to a good start and we knew it would be a difficult game because it’s a crosstown rival.”
“Performing the way we did is obviously the important thing for us because we’re trying to build the way we play,” Waldrum added. “I thought today was probably our best overall 90 minutes of performance that we’ve had so far. I’m really just proud of the girls and how they came back and responded after the weekend we had in Texas.”
Despite the straightforward outcome, the match was not without its challenges, as the Dukes threatened the Panthers early. Less than a minute in, Duquesne’s Hannah Nguyen set up Deena DeBaldo for an opportunity that was fended off by Pitt goalkeeper Amaia Pena. She would have three saves on the stat sheet by the end of the night in addition to her second shutout of 2018.
Pitt defender Madeline Gravante led the charge for the Panthers, opening up the scoring in the sixth minute on a shot facilitated by fellow freshmen Mikayla Alcorn and Ari Morgan. She would add another in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach, and with her brace in the books, she now ranks second on the team in goals behind freshman Anna Rico, who has scored three.
With Thursday’s win, the Panthers advanced to 4-2-1, a one-win improvement over last year’s disappointing 3-12-3 mark, which saw Pitt part ways with head coach Greg Miller. Pitt will look to continue its winning ways at home Sunday at 1 p.m., when the No. 16 Kansas Jayhawks pay a visit in a matchup that marks the beginning of a four-game gauntlet against ranked teams.