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No. 20 Pitt women’s soccer team blanks St. Joseph’s 3-0

After a scoreless first half, the Pitt attack unleashed in the final frame

The No. 20 Pitt women’s soccer team was at Sweeney Field in Philadelphia on Thursday night for a matchup with St. Joseph’s, and the Panthers would not only come away with a road win, but they would also post their third straight shutout, as they beat the Hawks 3-0.

For the first time all season, Pitt was held scoreless by an opponent in the first half. However, the Panthers left no doubt that they were the dominant side, as they outshot the Hawks 11-2 and put seven of their shots on goal. They also drew three corner kicks, while their hosts drew none and played a cleaner game with two fouls to the Hawks’ four.

Pitt’s dominance would extend into the second half, and it would finally pay off in the 64th minute, when Amanda West was set up with a pass by Leah Pais and tapped a shot past St. Joseph’s goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti, who was left on an island and gave up a 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later, Landy Mertz would double Pitt’s advantage, and once again, it would be Pais who created the scoring chance. Pais would send a ball to Mertz as she approached the box, hitting her in stride, and Mertz would pound a shot into the back of the net to provide the Panthers with a 2-0 advantage.

With just three minutes remaining in the game, Pitt would get its third and final goal off the foot of Sarah Sinnott, who teed off on a ball at the top of the box and buried it in an effort reminiscent of Mertz’s goal just 13 minutes earlier. St. Joseph’s would be unable to muster an answer, and the score would remain 3-0.

“I felt the first half we didn’t come out with the intensity I expected,” Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum said during a postgame interview. “We just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. We talked about it at the half and put a much better second half together. I thought Mackenzie Evers and Leah Pais came on and gave us some good minutes, as did Emily Harrigan. Great seeing West and Mertz continue to get goals, and Sarah Sinnott scored a great third goal for us. Overall, pleased with the way we handled the game on the road.”

With the win, Pitt improves to 5-0 on the season and ups its goal differential to plus-17, as the Panthers have outscored opponents 19-2. The only team to get a shot past a Pitt goalkeeper this season is Oklahoma State, which was ranked No. 16 at the time.

Pitt will face an opponent similar to Oklahoma State when it returns home, as No. 6 TCU, another ranked Big 12 power, is next on the slate. The top-25 matchup will kick off from Ambrose Urbanic Field at 11 a.m. on Sunday.