Pitt women’s soccer improves but loses to Kansas, 2-1


Christiana Davey scored Pitt’s only goal against Kansas Friday night. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

By Ryan Zimba / For The Pitt News

The Pitt women’s soccer team showed improvement in its match Friday night against the Kansas Jayhawks, but were still unable to pick up a win.

Pitt (1-5-1) dropped its third consecutive game in a 2-1 defeat to the Jayhawks (4-2-1) in Lawrence, Kansas. The Panthers went winless on their three-game road trip, but played much better in this game than the previous two contests –– back-to-back shutout losses against UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine.

“I am really proud of our team tonight,” Pitt head coach Greg Miller said in a press release. “We have been struggling to do a lot of things over the past few games in terms of getting back on track –– getting goals on set pieces, keeping the ball, defending in between … we did a much better job of all of that tonight.”

Taylor Francis played a standout game in net for the Panthers (1-5-1), making 6 saves on 8 shots. She consistently came up big and kept Pitt in the game. Both goals came on well-placed shots that were far out of her reach.

Pitt came out of the locker room strong in the first half, creating a good opportunity in the first few minutes of the game. On a cross into the box, a Kansas defender appeared to block the ball with her arm. The Panthers wanted a hand ball, but no call was made.

Ten minutes later, Kansas exploited a hole in the Panthers’ defense and had a one-on-one opportunity. Francis came up with the save, forcing the ball just wide of the post.

Defense took over from there, as neither team was able to manufacture chances for the majority of the half.

The exception came in the 38th minute, when a Kansas midfielder placed a ball in between two Pitt defenders and connected with a player in the box. The Panthers fouled the attacker, and Jayhawks midfielder Grace Hagan converted the ensuing penalty kick to give her team a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers went into the locker room without registering a shot on goal in the half, but they were still very much in the game thanks in large part to the play of Francis.

Pitt came out fast again in the second half as first-year forward Alex Wright forced Jayhawk goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns to make a diving save in the 49th minute.

Just eight minutes later, another first-year forward, Christiana David, burst through the Kansas defense and blasted a shot right through the hands of Dobyns to tie the game at one. The goal ended a scoring drought of more than 180 minutes for the Panthers.

Pitt continued to apply pressure for the large part of the second half, and came close to taking the lead on several occasions, but Dobyns kept things tied.

Then, in the 83rd minute, the Jayhawks dashed the Panthers’ hopes for a comeback victory when Kansas midfielder Katie McClure received a cross and buried the ball into a wide-open net.

Dobyns held off several surges by the Panthers in the final minutes, and the game ended with Kansas winning, 2-1.

“We came up short, but there were a lot of huge positives for our group. Kansas is a good team and I don’t think we were necessarily the better team tonight, but we hung in there,” Miller said in the release. “I’m hoping that this is our standard going forward into Kent State and moving into ACC play.”

This marks the third straight loss for the Panthers, whose main issue continues to be creating and converting opportunities. They registered only 2 shots on goal for the second consecutive game, a trend the team will have to fix in order to succeed in ACC play.

Pitt returns home to play Kent State in its last non-conference game of the season on Sunday, Sept. 11, at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

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