PITTSBURGH – Riliegh McHugh’s penalty kick earned the Pittsburgh women’s soccer team a 1-0 win over Central Michigan in its final exhibition game before the new season begins.
It was a deserved win for the Panthers after outshooting their opponents by 22-5 including four efforts that struck the frame of the goal.
Pittsburgh head coach Greg Miller fielded six freshmen in his starting line-up including Canadian forwards Taylor Pryce and Ashley Moreira. Pryce impressed throughout with her strength in holding up the ball, while Moreira’s sharp passing in the final third created numerous chances for the hosts.
Moreira came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half after working a one-two with Roosa Arvas at the edge of Central Michigan’s penalty box. The 18-year-old from Maple, Ontario fired in a looping first-time shot that appeared bound for the top corner. Chippewas goalkeeper Maddy Bunnell palmed the ball against her crossbar at full stretch.
The visitors could have snatched the lead shortly before the interval with a 3-vs-1 breakaway. Poor pass selection allowed the Panthers defense to snuff out the danger.
A sweeping Pittsburgh move on 54 minutes led to a goalmouth scramble that miraculously saw the ball staying out of the net despite being smacked against both posts.
Emily Pietrangelo stole in front of her marker to seize upon a flick header by Pryce before cutting her left-foot shot back across the face of goal. The ball struck the left post before rebounding out to Moreira at the corner of the 6-yard box.
Moreira sent her first-time drive back across the goalkeeper only for the ball to cannon off the right post.
A fortuitous refereeing decision compensated for Pittsburgh’s misfortune three minutes later. Pryce’s dangerous cross from the right wing struck the arm of a visiting defender who was trying to clear the ball under pressure from Shaina Ashouri.
Senior defender McHugh drilled her penalty firmly into Bunnell’s right corner.
Pittsburgh begins its regular season next weekend with two home games against Akron and Duquesne in the 4-team Steel City Classic.
Aug. 12 , 2014 — College Soccer Reforms Worthy Of Consideration On Women’s Side