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Pitt Edges Liberty, 1-0
Looking to extend its winning streak to four games, the Liberty women's soccer team hosted BIG EAST member Pittsburgh, Friday night, at Osborne Stadium. Unfortunately for the Lady Flames, their first-ever meeting with the Panthers did not go as planned.
A wide angled shot by Pitt's Rileigh McHugh made its way into the back of the net in the opening period, leading to a 1-0 Panthers victory.
With the defeat, Liberty falls to 4-3 on the year, while Pitt improves to 5-3.
Pitt's first shot attempt came in the 10th minute, with midfielder Ashley Cuba sending the ball high over the Liberty net. Nearly two minutes later, midfielder Brittany Aanderud booted a ball at the other end, but the attempt went wide of the Pitt goal.
The Panthers' lone goal occurred in the 14th minute. After receiving a pass at midfield from Alex Charlebois, McHugh dribbled further into Liberty territory before blasting a shot outside the 18-yard box on the left side. The ball curved just as it approached the Liberty net, hitting the back side to put the Panthers ahead, 1-0.
Liberty took its first shot at goal in the 28th minute with a Crystal Elmers attempt. However, Pitt goalkeeper Nicole D'Agostino was there to make the play, keeping the Flames attack at bay.
The Panthers tried to up the ante at the start of the 35th minute. Carolina Keefer fired a shot, but the attempt was blocked by a Liberty defender.
Liberty then attempted to even things up in the 41st minute, as Helena Pereira broke away from the Pitt defense. The sophomore charged towards the Panthers' net and chipped a shot, but D'Agostino quickly dove on the ball to prevent the Lady Flames from igniting the scoreboard.
In the second half, Liberty looked to have the momentum early. Crystal and Dawn Elmers fired off shots in the 52nd and 54th minutes, respectively, but each attempt sailed high over the Panthers' net.
Just before the 59th minute, goalkeeper Karen Blocker picked up her first save of the contest, thwarting a shot on goal by Dana Dellefemine.
Pitt's closest attempt at a second marker came in the 67th minute. Once again, McHugh made the play, booting a ball that was blocked by a Liberty defender. McHugh immediately followed up the failed try with another shot, but Blocker was there to stuff the attempt.
Pitt made its final attempt on goal in the 73rd minute, with a Charlebois shot which led to Blocker's third save. Liberty was able to keep the ball in Pitt territory for the majority of the remaining minutes, but could not muster a game-tying goal, setting up the 1-0 final.
The Panthers outshot the Lady Flames in the contest, 11-9, and held a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks. Blocker played the full 90 minutes in between the pipes for Liberty, making three saves. McHugh's goal ended a three-game shutout streak for the netminder. D'Agostino also played the entire contest in the net for Pitt, making two saves.
Liberty will receive a one-week break from game action before returning to the field, next Friday, when it hosts George Washington. The Lady Flames squared off with the Colonials for the first time last season, picking up a 2-1 win at Mount Vernon Field (Sept. 23, 2011). Blocker reached a milestone in the contest, recording her 200th career save. Game time for the rematch at Liberty's Campus East Athletics Fields is set for 7 p.m.