No. 2 Florida State holds off Pitt women’s soccer, 2-0


Pitt’s women’s soccer team suffered its fourth straight shutout in conference play against Florida State . Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

Following two defeats on the road, the Pitt women’s soccer team returned home to face another tough conference opponent on Saturday afternoon in a matchup against the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles.

When these two teams met last October, Florida State (9-1-1 overall, 3-0-1 ACC) came out on top in a 6-0 blowout. Still, the Panthers (1-10-1 overall, 0-4-0 ACC) and their fans were optimistic about the match-up, as overcast skies with the occasional light drizzle did not deter a crowd of 597 from coming to Ambrose Urbanic Field.

This year’s iteration was a much more competitive battle than last year, but the Seminoles again kept the Panthers off the board, this time in a 2-0 win.

“As a whole we had a good week of practice, we were really focussed, we worked hard, and coming into the game our spirits were high,” senior defender Siobhan McDonough said.

That focus just wasn’t enough against the second-ranked Seminoles and their impenetrable defense.

After starting the season with nine straight shutout victories, FSU gave up its first goal of the season last week in a 1-1 tie against Virginia. On Saturday, the Seminoles resumed their dominant ways.

FSU held prolonged possession in Pitt’s half and immediately took advantage of their chances. Just over a minute into the game, Seminoles defender Kristen Crowley headed in an early corner from teammate Natalia Kuikka.

“We gave up another goal from a set piece in the first four minutes of the game, and that’s inexcusable,” said Panthers head coach Greg Miller.

By controlling possession and playing aggressive defense, FSU refused to let Pitt find its way back into the game. The Seminoles kept the pressure high, as a fourth minute shot by Dallas Dorosy whisked past the post.

FSU added to its lead in the eighth minute when midfielder Kaycie Tillman read Pitt’s defense and volleyed a cross from Megan Connolly into the right side of the net, giving the Seminoles a 2-0 advantage.

The Panthers attempted to claw their way back into the game, starting in the 10th minute. McDonough came up with a couple skillful defensive interceptions that launched a counter attack for Pitt.

“We told each other we really weren’t playing poorly, we tried to calm down and just play to feet,” said McDonough.

Both teams created chances in a fast-paced, free-flowing game.

Seminoles midfielder Dallas Dorosy turned a dangerous cross goalward from teammate Malia Berkely, Pitt’s senior goalkeeper Taylor Francis parried it away with a spectacular save.

McDonough shined again in the 28th minute as she dribbled past a Seminole defender on the left and blasted a curling shot that just missed right post.

“We had a great response even as Florida State continued to come at us, and we were able to put out a lot of fires and get some offense going,” Miller said.

A 30-yard rocket from FSU sophomore Elin Jensen stamped itself on the crossbar, keeping the score at 2-0 heading into halftime.

The second half started just as the first ended with swift attacks on both sides of the field. Berkely produced a dangerous strike for the Seminoles after beating a defender that almost surprised Francis on her near post, but the score remained 2-0.

On the Panthers’ side, McDonough was yet again rock-solid on defense and launched several marauding attacks on offense.

Pitt forward Sarah Krause also tried to create scoring opportunities, as she began probing passes to her forwards and setting up chances. One such chance came in the 58th minute as first-year forward Cheyenne Hudson received a through ball from Krause but shot it high.

Francis produced another great save with her feet after FSU forward Kristen McFarland sent a shot on goal in the 69th minute.

The Panthers had their best chance yet to make it a one-goal game in the 72nd minute. But Krause’s shot fell harmlessly into Seminoles goalkeeper Cassie Miller’s arms, and FSU held on for the 2-0 shutout.

“There was a response. I am very pleased to see that kind of energy, intensity and togetherness out of them,” said Miller, “The expectation going forward is that we can continue to do that.”

Pitt will resume play against ACC opponent Virginia on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in Charlottesville, Virginia.