The Pitt News

Women’s soccer survives Hofstra, Duquesne, starts season 2-0

Pitt+senior+Emma+Pozzulo+%282%29+heads+the+ball+out+of+danger+in+the+team%27s+Friday+night+win+over+Hofstra.+%28Photo+by+Anna+Bongardino+%7C+Visual+Editor%29
Pitt senior Emma Pozzulo (2) heads the ball out of danger in the team's Friday night win over Hofstra. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Visual Editor)

Pitt senior Emma Pozzulo (2) heads the ball out of danger in the team's Friday night win over Hofstra. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Visual Editor)

Pitt senior Emma Pozzulo (2) heads the ball out of danger in the team's Friday night win over Hofstra. (Photo by Anna Bongardino | Visual Editor)

By Ryan Zimba / Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Considering they won just two games last year, it’s safe to say the Pitt women’s soccer team didn’t have high expectations coming into the 2017 season. But those expectations might’ve taken a bit of a jump this weekend, as the Panthers equaled their win total from last year after beating Hofstra and Duquesne.

Both games finished at 1-0 and were decided late, with the winning goals coming later than the 85th minute of regulation. Redshirt freshman goalie Katelyn McEachern played incredibly well, leading the Panthers (2-0) defense and saving all eight shots she faced. Head coach Greg Miller — who struggled to choose the starting goalie — was among those impressed by her first starts.

“I thought Kate did a great job,” Miller said. “She performed absolutely when she had to and didn’t seem like she was a rookie … performing that well only builds your confidence and our confidence in her.”

Hofstra

With the clock winding down in their opening game of the season, the Pitt women’s soccer team looked like it was headed to overtime against the Hofstra Pride with the game knotted at zero. But, thanks to a late goal by first year forward Juelle Love, the Panthers walked away with a close 1-0 win at Ambrose Urbanic Field Friday night.

Despite losing, the Pride (0-1) largely outplayed the Panthers for the majority of the night. Pitt’s offense could only muster one shot in the first half and five on the game compared to Hofstra’s 11.

If not for McEachern, it could have gotten ugly for the Panthers. McEachern — making her first career start — made several key saves in the first half, including a stop on a close-up shot by Hofstra forward Sabrina Bryan in the 19th minute.

In the 31st minute, Hofstra again had a good scoring chance, earning back-to-back corner kicks — their second and third of the game. Pitt’s defense held strong on the first before the Pride kicked it into the side of the net on the second. Still, Hofstra seemed to be taking over heading into the final 10 minutes of the half.

The pressure continued to build against the Panther defense, but they survived until the break as the score stayed tied at zero.

Hofstra continued to control the game in the early part of the second half, keeping the ball in its attacking third and pinning the Panthers’ defense back. In the 55th minute, they registered another strong shot on goal as junior forward Jenn Buoncore came crashing down the left side of the box. Again, McEachern was there to make the save, keeping her team level.

As the clock wound down to the final 10 minutes, the game — still tied at zero — looked destined for overtime with both defenses well in command.

But in the 86th minute, the Pride almost snuck away with the victory when Bryan streaked down the right end of the box and curled a shot past a diving McEachern. The ball ended up hitting the post and bouncing away from the goal, clear of danger.

“I was like, ‘Oh no, oh no,’ personally,” McEachern said. “Then it hit the post and I was like, ‘Goodness, I can’t believe that just happened.’”

Instead, the Panthers were the ones to steal the game late, as they dribbled the ball into the box a couple minutes later and got redshirt junior goalie Ashley Wilson out of position. After a couple blocked attempts, the ball fell to Love, who pounded it into the net with 1:46 to go.

“[The goal] is giving me more confidence and it made me feel like I have a bigger role on this team now,” Love said.

Pitt was able to close out the game, weathering a desperate attack by the Pride to start the season off with a win.

Duquesne

The Panthers again received some late game heroics against the Duquesne Dukes (0-1), winning 1-0 in the second overtime Sunday afternoon on a blistering shot by first year midfielder Vildan Kardesler.

Pitt’s offense was absolutely dominant in the early portion of the game, registering nine shots in the first half — six of which were on goal. Dukes goalie Kyra Murphy stayed strong though, coming up with saves on all six.

Junior forward Taylor Pryce had the most success for the Panthers, creating the team’s best opportunities. In the 11th minute, she found herself one-on-one with Murphy after receiving a pinpoint pass and blasted it into the net. But, the referee had raised the flag for offsides, taking the goal off the board.

Later on, she had another chance after Duquesne committed a foul in their defensive third. With the free kick coming in, Pryce jumped above the Dukes defenders and headed the ball over the outstretched hands of Murphy and off the crossbar.

McEachern was mostly unchallenged in the half, only facing one shot on goal. In the 37th minute though, she almost let one in, as a shot by Duquesne sophomore Ciara Guglielmo glanced off the right post.

At halftime, the score was knotted at zero, with the Panthers having the majority of the chances.

The Dukes had more success in the latter 45 minutes, shutting down Pitt’s offense early and creating some opportunities of their own. The first shot on goal didn’t come until nearly 20 minutes in though, when Duquesne senior Malea Fabean found some room in Pitt’s defense and decided to let one fly. It was an easy save for McEachern, who continued to stay perfect in her Pitt career.

A few minutes later, the Panthers countered with another close-in shot by Pryce. This time, the shot was blocked before the Dukes were able to clear and survive the danger.

Things were still tied as the clock ticked under 10 minutes, but unlike Friday night, there were no late-game heroics as the teams were headed to sudden death overtime.

The action picked up quickly in the opening minutes of the first overtime period, and Pitt almost walked away with the win on a long shot by Kardesler. The shot curled toward the top of the net, forcing Murphy to punch it over the top.

In the second overtime period, Kardesler got another opportunity, dribbling left to right at the top of the box before turning and firing on net. Murphy dove for the shot, but the ball squeaked by and went in, giving Pitt its second 1-0 win of the season.

Next up for the group is a road matchup against former Big East foe Cincinnati on Thursday. The contest kicks off at 7 p.m., with the Panthers looking to surpass their win total from last year in just three games.

Leave a comment.

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Women’s soccer survives Hofstra, Duquesne, starts season 2-0