The Pitt women’s soccer team resumed its season on Sunday afternoon with a matchup against Duquesne at Ambrose Urbanic Field, and the Panthers dealt the Dukes a 3-0 defeat in the City Game. The game was the first in what should be a two-game spring slate for the Panthers, who had last played on Nov. 1.
The game got off to a slow start, with both teams held without a shot for the first 15 minutes and both teams held scoreless for the first half-hour. But in the 38th minute, Athalie Palomo took a corner kick for Pitt and bent in a high-arcing shot that escaped the outstretched hands of the Duquesne goalkeeper.
Pitt took the 1-0 lead furnished by Palomo into halftime. At that point, the game was a virtual stalemate on paper, with the Panthers and Dukes tied in shots, with three each; saves, with one each; and fouls, with three each. The two differences were corner kicks and goals, as Pitt drew five corners and converted on one, while Duquesne had no corners or goals. However, the second half would be more one-sided and would see a new star emerge.
That star would be Dayton transfer Landy Mertz, who scored the first goal of her Pitt career in the 61st minute. Mertz had seen two shots fended off by Duquesne goalkeeper Bella DeFabbo in the first 15 minutes of the final frame, but she finally got one past her at the tail end of a breakaway set up with a bomb of an assist by Pitt midfielder Chloe Minas.
About 19 minutes later, Mertz would add another goal after Emily Yaple found her in the box. Mertz took the pass, weaved around a Duquesne defender and then sent a shot into the back left corner of the net to put the Panthers up by three. The Dukes would not respond in the nine remaining minutes.
With the win, Pitt improved to 10-5 overall as well as 5-1 at home. It is the team’s first 10-win season since 2015, which was also the last time the Panthers won five games at home.
However, what comes next for the team is uncertain, as the trip to Marshall that was supposed to end the Pitt season on March 21 was recently canceled. The team is working to schedule a game in its place, but for now, the team's future plans remain up in the air.