FARMVILLE, Va. – Freshman Hamish Law’s goal in the 65th minute provided the difference in Sunday morning’s match as Pitt won 1-0 on the road at Longwood on Sunday, Sept. 7.
In only three games so far in 2014, the Panthers (2-1-0) have already surpassed its entire win total from all of last year. The victory also marks Pitt’s first road win since Sept. 16, 2012 when the Panthers won at cross-town rival Duquesne. This was also the Panthers’ first win outside of the Pittsburgh-metro area since a 2008 triumph at Seton Hall.
“The team rebounded well. We talked a lot yesterday and made a good plan for this game,” said head coach Joe Luxbacher. “Playing two days after a bad result for us, it’s a good day for the team. And to be quite honest, some of the guys who haven’t played many minutes, contributed today. Everybody did a good, solid job that we put in.”
One of those players who hadn’t seen much action yet was Law, whose goal in the 65th minute was the first of his collegiate career. Redshirt senior Cory Werth assisted on the play for his second helper of the season and fourth of his career.
Sophomore Braden Horton started his third collegiate game in between the pipes and made three saves for his second shutout. His other clean sheet came in his last start against Howard in the home finale of 2013.
Horton was tested early, making a save just 3:05 into the contest, but would only see two more shots on goal for the final 87 minutes as the Panthers back line was stout all-game long.
Pitt looked to break open the scoring in the 10th minute after sophomore Stephane Pierre headed home a free kick from junior Kevin Fielden, but was flagged for offside and the goal was waved off.
Neither team recorded a shot over the next 15 minutes and in the 34th minute, the Panthers finally tallied their first shot on goal. Following a free kick deep in the Lancers zone, senior Dan Prete got up for a header, but Longwood goalkeeper Carlos Canas made the diving save. Just three minutes later, Longwood had their best opportunity of the half to put a goal on the scoreboard. Finnlay Wyatt attacked Horton on his free kick outside of the box. Horton made the initial save, but couldn’t control the ball and Zach Crandall’s follow-up opportunity from a tough angle went wide.
The Panthers came out of the break with a renewed sense of urgency, putting the pressure on right from the kickoff. In the first 20 minutes, Pitt had four shots and three corner kicks to just one corner for the Lancers.
Finally at the 64:44 mark, Law ended the scoreless drought. He received a pass in the center of the box after Werth dribbled down the right side of the field. Law tapped his shot to the lower left corner past Canas for the score.
Longwood’s best chance to tie things up came in the 74th minute on another free kick just outside the box from Wyatt. His shot went directly into the Panthers defensive wall and bounced high above. Steffan Hoogland headed the loose ball towards the goal, but Horton was there for his third and final save.
Despite being outshot 10-8, Pitt put more attempts on goal (5-3) and held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Canas finished the game in goal for Longwood with four saves.
“We played pretty good solid soccer,” said Luxbacher. “Not as pretty or fluid as it was Friday (at William & Mary), but we ended up getting the result we needed. We played good, hard defense and scored a really good goal. Hamish Law finished the chance he had. Our guys battled the whole time and were disciplined.”
Pitt travels to nationally-ranked No. 13 North Carolina on Friday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. for both team’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener.