PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer season came to a close on Saturday, Nov. 1 with a 4-1 loss to nationally-ranked No. 5 Notre Dame at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
Notre Dame (10-4-3, 6-1-1 ACC) scored all three of its goals in the first 40 minutes of the game on its way to locking up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, which begins next week. Pitt (4-9-4, 0-6-2 ACC) was eliminated from postseason contention last week with its loss to Duke.
Leon Brown led the way for the Fighting Irish with two goals and Evan Panek added two assists and a goal of his own late in the match. Patrick Hodan netted the other score for his team-leading eighth goal of the season and Luke Mishu had one assist as well.
Pitt senior Michael Tuohy scored his first and only goal of the season after his corner kick deflected off an Irish defender. He finished his career with four goals and three assists for 11 points.
Notre Dame opened the scoring just over nine minutes into the contest on Brown’s first tally of the night. After receiving a pass from Panken straight up the middle of the field, Brown cut to the left and directed a slow-rolling shot that trickled by Pitt keeper junior Dan Lynd giving the Fighting Irish a 1-0 lead.
For the next 20 minutes, the two squads played fairly even, with Pitt actually controlling the ball for a good portion of the time. During that span the Panthers also outshot Notre Dame 4-0, putting one shot on goal that Fighting Irish goalie Patrick Wall saved out of the air right on the goal line.
In the 30th minute, Panken was responsible for setting up another goal, this time to Hodan. Panken held the ball on the left baseline and lifted a pass back to into the center of the box where Hodan nailed a one-timer past Lynd for the score, making it 2-0.
Less than 10 minutes later, Brown tacked on his second goal of the evening, pushing Notre Dame’s advantage to 3-0. With the ball about 30 yards out on the right side of the field, Mishu sent a cross into the box. Four Irish attackers all bolted for the free ball, but it was Brown who freed himself from his defender and got a piece of the ball on the run, directing it into the back of the net.
Holding on to a three goal lead, Notre Dame sat back on the ball for a majority of the second half and didn’t put too much pressure on the Pitt defense. Two of the Irish’s three shots in the first 20 minutes of the half were denied by Lynd.
With 10 minutes to go, Tuohy put Pitt on the scoreboard. On a corner from the right side, Tuohy curved the kick, which bounced off a Notre Dame defender and went in to cut the margin to 3-1. Following Tuohy’s goal the Panthers gained some momentum, but couldn’t convert as junior Patrick Dixon had two shots that were blocked and one that went wide in less than two minutes. He also had a corner kick that didn’t amount to anything.
Notre Dame sealed the win with just under two minutes to play when Panken took a pass from Jeffrey Farina, dribbled past Lynd and drilled a shot that went off a Pitt defender and in for the score, setting the final margin at 4-1.
Lynd finished the game with four saves, bringing his ACC-leading total to 72 and wrapped up the season with a career-low 1.58 goals against average. Wall made just one save for Notre Dame in the opening half for the win.
Despite the score favoring Notre Dame, Pitt won both the battle in shots (14-10 and corner kicks (5-1).