The third-ranked Pitt men’s soccer team traveled to the Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown on Monday evening to take on West Virginia, and despite great expectations ahead of the rivalry game, the Panthers fell to the unranked Mountaineers 2-1 in the 50th edition of the Backyard Brawl.
West Virginia struck first in the 21st minute, when Pitt goalkeeper Nico Campuzano was tripped and dispossessed of the ball in the box by Mountaineers forward Yoran Popovic and Mountaineers midfielder Luke McCormick then collected the ball and tapped it into an open goal to give his team a 1-0 advantage.
That score would hold at the halftime break, but in the 50th minute, Pitt would draw level, when Panthers defender Jasper Löeffelsend lofted a cross into the box that found Panthers forward Alexander Dexter, who then knocked a shot past Mountaineers goalkeeper Steven Tekesky to knot the score up at 1-1.
However, the game would be decided in the 76th minute, when Mountaineers midfielder Ryan Baer launched a pass into the box that Mountaineers forward Adam Burchell headed in to put West Virginia up 2-1. Pitt would not come up with an answer in regulation.
The loss was Pitt’s second straight to West Virginia, as the Panthers were topped by the Mountaineers 2-1 on Oct. 23, 2018, in Morgantown in their last matchup. But on Sept. 26, 2017, Pitt logged its lone win over West Virginia during the Jay Vidovich era, when the Panthers pounded the Mountaineers 7-0 on their home turf in Pittsburgh.
Pitt falls to 1-1 on the season with the loss and could take a tumble in the rankings as a result. Meanwhile, West Virginia improves to 2-0 and could find itself receiving votes in the next coaches poll after a high-profile upset.
With the game in the books, Pitt will shift its focus to Lehigh, a team it last met in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament. That game would go down as a success for the Panthers, as Edward Kizza and Bryce Washington led the team to a 2-0 win. This time around, Pitt will look for a similar outcome when it hosts Lehigh at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.