Pitt women’s soccer ties, ends losing streak


Thomas J. Yang

Mikayla Schmidt celebrates after scoring in the 72nd minute to tie the Thursday night game against Virginia Tech 1-1. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Staff Photographer)

By Adin Link | For The Pitt News

The Pitt women’s soccer team snapped a four-game losing streak, but not with a win.

The Panthers (3-4-3, 0-1-1 ACC) returned home to Ambrose Urbanic Field Thursday evening for a match against the Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2-2, 0-1-1 ACC). The Hokies scored in the 47th minute, and after being down one goal for 25 minutes, the Panthers equalized and maintained the tie score for the remainder of the double overtime match.

The game opened with a slow start, but when the refs called a foul on Virginia Tech in the seventh minute, the calls began to roll in, with the Panthers following quickly with their own foul.

Virginia Tech redshirt senior forward Kallie Peurifoy took advantage of a misplayed ball for her team’s first corner kick. She followed that with another corner 30 seconds later.

The Panthers snuffed out the second corner kick, but committed a handball inside the box shortly after, leading to a Hokie penalty shot.

Pitt redshirt first-year goalkeeper Katelyn McEachern pounced on the shot from Virginia Tech senior forward Alani Johnson, preserving the 0-0 score.

“After coming off a save from a penalty kick last week, I felt pretty confident,” McEachern said. “But at the same time I was a little nervous because it’s rare for keepers to come off back-to-back [penalty kick] saves.”

The teams exchanged possession after the penalty kick, but only Virginia Tech managed to tally any shots. The Hokies took two — one of them on goal —  within one minute of each other. McEachern saved the first shot and the second went wide.

When Pitt fouled again, the Hokies took a free kick just outside the box. Peurifoy’s shot was saved by a dive from McEachern yet again. The ensuing Hokies’ corner kick nearly found the back of the net, but the Panther defense remained strong.

The Hokies saw an opportunity in the 40th minute, but the attempted pass never reached its target as Pitt freshman Aideen O’Donoghue slid to deflect the pass. The Hokies had one final opportunity with a free kick, but McEachern made one more save to close out the half tied at 0-0.

Virginia Tech was the more offensive team in the first half with six shots, five of which were on goal. The Panthers had two shots with only one on goal.

The match may have started slowly in the first half, but the second was a different story. Virginia Tech’s Johnson netted her fourth goal of the season just two minutes into the second half, making the score 1-0.

Pitt’s O’Donoghue booked the first yellow card of the game when she slid into a Hokie forward a minute after the goal. Pitt’s offense attempted to get back in the game with two shots coming one minute apart in the 48th and 49th minutes.

Virginia Tech had another scoring chance on a free kick in the 61st minute and sent a ball into the box, but McEachern was yet again on the scene to grab the save.

Virginia Tech kept its offensive pressure going, and two minutes later a shot from junior midfielder Kristina Diana ricocheted off the crossbar. Pitt nearly found the back off the net in the 69th minute, but a late offside call voided the opportunity.

Pitt’s offense broke through in the 72nd minute when junior forward Mikayla Schmidt put a shot in the top of the net, just past the reach of Hokie goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn. Pitt junior forward Bel Van Noorden assisted Schmidt in tying the game 1-1.

“I mean I was screaming for the ball and as soon as I got it I just put my head down and took a hit,” Schmidt said.

The Panthers had two late opportunites in the 77th minute negated by offside penalties. The Hokies offense nearly netted the tie-breaking goal in the 80th minute. However, McEachern and the Panther defense held up.

Virginia Tech received its first yellow card of the match when sophomore defensive midfielder Jordan Hemmen committed a foul in the 85th minute. The rest of the second half remained scoreless, and regulation play ended with the Panthers and the Hokies deadlocked at one goal each.

The Hokies began overtime with a foul, resulting in the period’s first free kick, but they kept the Panthers from scoring on this attempt. Pitt sophomore Christiana Davey took her team’s first corner kick four minutes into overtime, but the Hokies cleared the attempt.

Virginia Tech’s first scoring opportunity of the overtime period came with two minutes remaining. Hokie sophomore forward Katherine Roth’s shot sailed over the crossbar, and the first overtime period concluded 1-1.

After a Pitt corner kick, the Hokies drove down the pitch and nearly scored their second goal. Virginia Tech tried twice to score, but both were deflected. Neither team finished out the game with a goal, leaving them to walk off the field with a 1-1 score.

The Panthers travel to North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils Sunday, Sept. 24th.

“Duke will be quite a challenge,” Pitt head coach Greg Miller said. “It’s like every team is: they will present some different things for us but hopefully we are ready for it.”

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