The Pitt women’s soccer team opened its season with a 5-4 win over Loyola Marymount in a back-and-forth thriller at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday night. The Panthers were led by freshman forward Amanda West, who logged a hat trick in her Pitt debut. That included the game-winner in the 84th minute, and her efforts were aided by Juliana Vazquez and Athalie Palomo, a freshman defender who netted the first goal of the game.
However, while Pitt saw positive signs from its freshman class on offense, the team struggled defensively, as it gave up a total of four goals. Those goals came from LMU’s Simone Handy, Ali King, Jackie Fiacco and Maki Kono, who had one each. With that said, Pitt also showed plenty of fight, as it fell behind on three occasions and managed to not only pull level each time, but to take the lead in the closing minutes thanks to West.
”First of all, I think we entertained the crowd,” Pitt associate head coach Ben Waldrum said in a postgame interview. “Certainly we’re pleased with the performance offensively. But we’re young, and we haven’t had the luxury of time. So when you have 21 new players, defensively, you’ve got a lot of work to do. So you certainly saw that tonight.”
”But I’ll tell you what, we’re really, really pleased with the performance of this young team,” Waldrum continued. “I think we had seven freshman starting. To see them come back and show their character and show their grit is something that we’re really, really pleased with. But certainly we have some work to do.”
With the win, Pitt improves to 1-0 on the season. On Sunday, the team will head to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to close out its opening weekend of the 2019 season with a matchup against Bucknell at 1 p.m. ET.