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Women's soccer ties twice, remains unbeaten - The Pitt News

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Women’s soccer ties twice, remains unbeaten

Panther+forward+Sarah+Krause+had+an+assist+on+Pitt%27s+lone+goal+against+Xavier+Sunday+afternoon.+%28TPN+File+Photo%29
Panther forward Sarah Krause had an assist on Pitt's lone goal against Xavier Sunday afternoon. (TPN File Photo)

Panther forward Sarah Krause had an assist on Pitt's lone goal against Xavier Sunday afternoon. (TPN File Photo)

Panther forward Sarah Krause had an assist on Pitt's lone goal against Xavier Sunday afternoon. (TPN File Photo)

By Mackenzie Rodrigues / Assistant Sports Editor

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Coming off back-to-back wins to start the season, the Pitt women’s soccer team played two similar games this weekend, one on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bearcats and another on Sunday against the Xavier Musketeers. Both were away, both went into double overtime and both ended in a tie.

Thursday night’s game ended 2-2, while Sunday afternoon’s culminated 1-1. Pitt (2-0-2) wasn’t able to secure a win in either game, but they kept themselves from accruing any losses. And while the Panthers took fewer shots than both of their opponents, their ability to play under pressure proves they have the talent to improve upon last season.

Cincinnati

Pitt’s early two-goal lead against Cincinnati (2-0-1) set the team up for what should’ve been a sure win. But a resurgence from the Bearcats’ offense fueled a furious comeback as the game ended 2-2 after double overtime.

It didn’t take long for the action to start, but Pitt redshirt freshman goalie Katelyn McEachern proved her worth. She saved the first shot of the game in the third minute, clearing the zone and starting up the Panthers’ attack.

A few minutes later, redshirt junior Taylor Pryce broke open the scoring with a shot into the lower-left corner, putting the Panthers ahead 1-0. Cincinnati attempted to even the score in the ensuing sequence, but Pitt’s defense was able to keep the lead, blocking several Bearcats shots.

Pitt remained in the lead, 1-0, by the end of the first half. Outside of the early save, McEachern wasn’t too busy in the half, and was only forced to make two other saves. The Panthers defense was a big reason they started the season well, and early in the second half, it looked like it would deliver yet another win as Pryce put the team up 2-0 in the 53rd minute.

Following two more shot attempts from the Bearcats and two fouls on Pitt, Cincinnati struck back on a diving header by senior Vanessa Giles, assisted by redshirt senior Katy Couperus’ free kick.

The game progressed with nearly 10 minutes of slow play, filled mainly with substitutions. Then, Cincinnati sophomore Gabrielle LoPresti tied up the game and erased her team’s deficit.

The remainder of the game was scoreless, but rife with fouls for both teams. The Bearcats fouled four times while the Panthers came close with three. Couperus also drew a yellow card with 15 minutes left in the game.

At the end of regulation, the game was still tied at two, forcing sudden-death overtime. In the first 10-minute period, the Bearcats dominated, outshooting the Panthers 6-0, but weren’t able to end the game, sending the game into a second overtime.

The Bearcats dominated shooting in the second period just as they had for the entire game. Although the game ended with a yellow card on Cincinnati, it did not end with a winning goal. The result was a draw, but considering how badly his team was outshot — 34-5 in total — head coach Greg Miller was probably pleased to get just that.

Xavier

As the Sunday afternoon game opened up, the Panthers faced the Musketeers (2-1-1) with an organized passing game. Still, the offense struggled, with the team only able to muster another draw thanks to a late goal by redshirt junior Seyla Perez.

Xavier’s offense got off to a strong start in the game, but McEachern was up to the task early, making four saves in the first half to keep her team close.

The Musketeers succeeded in pressuring Pitt’s defensive line, but couldn’t execute when it mattered most. Pitt took advantage of long passes to challenge Xavier’s control, but the Musketeers only intensified their pressure, forcing McEachern to come off the line to block shots.

The physical game picked up as the first half wound down, leading Pitt to foul repeatedly. Xavier redshirt freshman Carrie Lewis took a resulting free kick, serving the ball into the box for a goal from first-year Sydney Schembri 35 minutes into the game.

The Musketeers protected their 1-0 lead while Pitt tried to regain momentum and return from the deficit. As the half closed, the Musketeers led with five shots on goal to Pitt’s one. The teams were tied with four fouls and two corner kicks each.

The second 45 minutes opened with a substitution in goal for Pitt as redshirt freshman Amaia Pena replaced McEachern. Holding onto their lead, the Musketeers pressured Pitt early in the half.   

Pena’s smooth takeover as goalie continually set up more scoring chances for the Panthers. After a foul on Xavier, Pitt gained possession with a corner kick. Senior Emma Pozzulo crossed it to Pitt redshirt junior Seyla Perez, but Toni Bizzarro broke through to save the shot.

In the 61st minute, two yellow cards were handed out, one to Pitt sophomore Cheyenne Hudson and one to Lewis. Xavier took control again, and sophomore Courtney Lankford got a foot on the ball, but shot it wide.

With less than seven minutes remaining, it looked like the Panthers’ unbeaten streak was going to come to an end. But in the 84th the team tied things up on a shot by Perez, sending the game into overtime.

In the first overtime period, Pryce was able to find room inside the Musketeers’ defense and fired a shot on net. Bizzarro was in perfect position, though, making the save and sending the Panthers into their second double-overtime game of the weekend.

Xavier dominated the second overtime, taking three shots, while Pitt took zero. Neither team’s offensive efforts paid off, though, and the game ended 1-1.

The Panthers return to Ambrose Urbanic Field Wednesday, Aug. 30 to take on the Detroit Titans. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

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Women’s soccer ties twice, remains unbeaten