Pitt’s the pick for Riverview scoring sensation Lola Abraham

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | 1:53 AM

Riverview junior Lola Abraham has put together an impressive resume of on-field soccer results the past several years with her Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy club and with her high school teammates.

She now hopes that she can do the same thing at Pitt.

Abraham has concluded her recruiting process with a verbal commitment to the Panthers.

“For me, it was a bunch of different aspects that led me to my decision,” Abraham said. “It came down to the atmosphere within the team I felt when I made a visit there. I saw the girls train and interact with each other. It was a competitive atmosphere, but the girls were super nice and welcoming even though I was just a recruit coming in to see what everything was about.

“The coaches there are all doing great things with the program. Just being under their leadership will really benefit me. And the facilities and campus also have me pretty excited.”

The facilities on campus, Pitt athletics announced Friday, will include Victory Heights, a student recreation and performance center tentatively expected to open in the spring of 2026 as Abraham prepares for her junior season with the Panthers.

“The up-and-coming project they have going on there is amazing,” she said.

Coaches were permitted to begin making contact with Abraham on June 15, and she garnered interest from a variety of Division I programs.

But in the end, Pitt was it.

Abraham announced her decision last Friday with a posting on Twitter. In it, she thanked family, coaches, teammates and her club team for all of their support and encouragement along the way.

“The way I think of it, it definitely is a relief to have this decision made, but now is the time to work even harder to maintain this level and prepare for college,” she said.

Abraham has not let up in her on-field activities since the end of the high school season. Continued training leads her to this weekend’s start of her Elite Clubs National League Ohio Valley Regional season with the Riverhounds.

Abraham joins a growing WPIAL presence on the Pitt women’s soccer team.

Mars graduate Ellie Coffield and North Allegheny standout Sarah Shupansky, both sophomores this season, made an impact with the Panthers, as have senior midfielders Landy Mertz (Upper St. Clair) and Krystyna Rytel (Shady Side Academy).

Mertz recently earned selection to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference third team.

Pitt, 19th in the most recent United Soccer Coaches Rankings, defeated Buffalo, 1-0, Saturday in an NCAA Tournament first-round game. It is the Panthers’ (13-4-3) first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

This year’s Pitt recruiting class includes recent signees Kaitlyn Killinger and Kaley Simqu from a Plum team that finished third in WPIAL Class 3A and capped its season Saturday in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Killinger and Simqu also are prominent members of the Pittsburgh Hotspurs women’s club team.

Abraham was denied an opportunity to break out on the high school scene her freshman year in 2020 as lower-than-needed roster numbers caused the season to be canceled.

The team returned last year with a roster of 14, and Abraham broke out to the tune of 43 goals. She earned Valley News Dispatch first-team all-star honors and was voted to the all-section 1-A team and selected all-WPIAL.

Riverview’s numbers grew this fall to 20 with a number of newcomers and veterans pacing the team to an 8-8 overall record, a 5-7 mark in Section 1 and a second straight postseason trip.

Abraham picked up where she left off last year and enjoyed a junior season that included one of the highest goal outputs in the WPIAL with 56.

She scored 14 goals in two games on the same day against Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette on the final day of the regular season. She also tallied the lone goal in Riverview’s WPIAL playoff loss to Chartiers-Houston, bringing her career-goal total for two seasons to 99.

“This was another great season with the team,” Abraham said. “Everyone contributed, and it definitely was a team effort. It was exciting with having the new girls who came out for the team and seeing the younger players really develop throughout the season. I am really looking forward to next season as we continue to build up stronger with some freshmen coming in who also play club.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.


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