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Pitt men’s soccer falls 3-1 to Penn State in Happy Valley

The rivalry loss came during a crucial late-season stretch for Pitt

Matt Hawley

The Pitt men’s soccer team faced Penn State at Jeffrey Field in University Park on Tuesday night, but the trip was ultimately unsuccessful, as the Panthers suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Nittany Lions.

The loss came despite the fact that Pitt outshot Penn State 9-4 in each half of play and put 11 shots on goal in comparison to Penn State’s three. However, the Nittany Lions made the most of their opportunities, converting on every on-target shot, while the Panthers were stonewalled by Penn State goalkeeper Kris Shakes, who came up with 10 saves.

The Nittany Lions got on the board in the 37th minute after Penn State midfielder Callum Pritchatt was taken down in the box, drawing a penalty. Penn State midfielder Aaron Molloy then buried the subsequent penalty kick to give his team a 1-0 lead it would take into halftime.

The Nittany Lions then opened the second half by scoring twice in rapid succession to build their lead up to 3-0. The goals came from Liam Butts and Jalen Watson. Butts has six goals this season and was recently named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Watson’s goal was the first of his collegiate career.

With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Pitt defender Bryce Washington responded in kind by recording his first collegiate goal, thanks in part to an assist from Pitt midfielder Veljko Petkovic. However, it was too little too late, as Pitt failed to add to its total and lost 3-1.

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak and hurt Pitt’s chances of finishing the season with a winning record, as each of the team’s remaining opponents is either ranked or receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll. Pitt’s record is now 6-5-2 with three games left in the regular season, and the team’s next game may be its toughest of the year.

On Friday, Pitt will travel to Charlottesville to face Virginia, the No. 1 team in the nation. The Cavaliers are 11-0-1 on the season, 4-0-1 in conference and undefeated at Klöckner Stadium in 2019. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.