PITTSBURGH – Sophomore Kevin Murray received a pass from redshirt senior Cory Werth on the run in the middle of the box and deposited it into the back of the net in the 93rd minute, giving Pitt a 1-0 overtime victory against visiting High Point on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
The game-winner was all made possible by Werth’s persistence on a loose ball. He beat the defender to the play and tapped a pass to freshman Kevin Angulo, who chipped the ball back over the top to Werth. After controlling the pass, Werth sent it back to Murray in the box for the game-winner.
For Murray, it was his third goal of the season, which ties his career-high for goals in a season. Murray’s six career goals is tied for the eighth most by a Pitt individual since 2002. Werth, meanwhile, was credited with a team-high third assist on the year, which is tied for the sixth most in a season since 2002 as well. Angulo recorded his first career point on the play.
Murray may have been the hero, but it was junior goalkeeper Dan Lynd who was the star of the night. Lynd was constantly pressured by the HPU attack and made a season-high nine saves, just two off his career high. It gave Lynd’s his third in his career win. He now has fifth shutouts on the season, which ranks 13th in a single-season at Pitt and eight for his career, which puts him 11th all-time. Over the past two games – both shutouts – Lynd has made 15 saves and hasn’t allowed a goal. Lynd will now take a season-long 202:08 scoreless streak into his next game.
As a team, Tuesday’s win marks Pitt’s first victory over a team entering the game with a winning record this late in the season since 2004, when Pitt defeated Georgetown on Oct. 20. The squad now has six shutouts in the season, which is the most in one year since 1997 and tied for fifth in a single-season in program history.
The game against High Point also completes Pitt’s three-game 2014 schedule with Big South opponents. Pitt was a perfect 3-0 against the conference this year, outscoring its foes a combined 5-0. This wraps up Pitt’s non-conference slate with a winning record of 4-3-2.
The first half was played extremely even between the two sides with High Point holding a slight advantage in shots, 6-5, while both teams put three attempts on goal. Most of those shots on goal came on restarts or corners, when each team was most dangerous.
In the first 20 minutes, each keeper had been tested, Lynd twice and Kody Palmer once, but it was in the 22nd minute when High Point let a golden opportunity slip away. After being awarded a free kick at the top right corner of the box, Irvin Ramirez played a low ball to Avery Ryan, who directed a shot wide of the goal with his heel as he was running away from the goal.
Nine minutes later came one of Pitt’s best chances off the opening half. Sophomore Romeo Charron lined up for a free kick about 30 yards out and had his pass blocked. Redshirt senior Michael Tuohy corralled the loose ball and played it into the box, where Murray slipped behind his defender and got a head on it. However, it was right at Palmer who made the save.
With three minutes left, though, both teams had arguably their best opportunities of the first half. Pitt’s was first when freshman Hamish Law fired a shot from the top right of the box. The only thing that stopped his shot from going in was the top-right corner of where the post and crossbar meet as his shot bounced back into play. Just over a minute later Pat Shelton connected with a ball in mid-air off a free-kick, with Lynd making his third save.
Before Pitt even recorded its first shot of the second half in the 64th minute, High Point added five shots to its total, including three on goal. Three of those shots came in the first five minutes. First Ebe Kudolo snuck behind the Pitt defense to accept pass and had no one in front of him but Lynd, who was there for the save. Not even a minute later, High Point ran a similar play, this time with a longer pass to Ryan, who proceeded to get by the defense and put his shot high over the goal.
In the 61st minute, High Point forced Lynd to make his sixth save of the night after Ramirez dribbled to the baseline and passed back to Colscon Wiley in the box. Wiley ripped a shot and Lynd dove to his left to make the save.
After each team tallied two shots, with one going on goal during a five minute span late in the second half, it was High Point that controlled the tempo for the remaining 10 minutes. High Point took the final four shots in regulation, forcing Lynd to make two saves. Lynd’s last save came off a shot by Adam Storm that originated from a corner kick with less than a minute to go.
High Point’s keeper Palmer finished the game with four saves.
Pitt heads to Duke for its final road game of the season on Friday, Oct. 24 in need of a win to stay in the ACC Championship picture. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.