Women’s soccer scrapes out 2-2 draw against Buckeyes on spring play day


Joy Cao | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt midfielder junior Anna Bout (12) controls the ball at Saturday’s game against Ohio State.

By Will McGlynn, Staff Writer

Pitt women’s soccer continued its spring season this past weekend, drawing with Ohio State in their play day matchup at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The game was tight throughout, getting chippy at times in the second half. Ultimately, a goal from Pitt’s junior forward Amanda West in the 88th minute clinched a 2-2 tie.

Pitt dominated the early battle for possession. Junior forward Leah Pais scored the first goal right before the end of the first half. Pais controlled the ball in the box off of a cross and an Ohio State defender took her down in the box. Pais took the penalty and drilled a low ball into the left corner, scoring the first goal of the half.

Pitt constantly crossed the ball into the box with little success, since the Ohio State center backs consistently cleared the ball out of the box for the entire half.

Junior midfielder Landy Mertz helped Pitt to attack up the right wing throughout the game. Mertz crossed the ball into the box possession after possession, creating chances and weaving through Ohio State defenders.

Ohio State was not to be denied, though, and started storming back in the second half. Ohio State struggled to maintain possession of the ball for much of the first half, but it made good on its chances.

Pitt defender senior Hailey Davidson (11) looks to pass the ball at Saturday’s game against Ohio State. (Joy Cao | Senior Staff Photographer)

In the second half, the Buckeyes finally converted. In the 58th minute, they won a free-kick around midfield. They played the ball deep into the box and off of a deflection scored from just inside the 18-yard box, tying the score 1-1. Ohio State continued to pour on the pressure following its first goal by forcing another Pitt save around the 60th minute and winning a corner.

Pitt got back on the offensive following its struggles, winning a corner of its own and shooting on target in the 66th minute. Pitt stayed in the Ohio State third until the 72nd minute, when Ohio State cleared the ball up the left-wing.

The Ohio State winger collected a through ball and weaved through defenders into the 18-yard box. She created space and drilled the ball past the keeper, putting Ohio State up 2-1.

At this point in the game, things were starting to turn chippy between the two teams. Sophomore midfielder Emily Yaple and an Ohio State midfielder got into a scuffle after fighting for a loose ball in the middle of the field. The referee had a word with both players following the altercation and what the Pitt bench seemed to think was a flop from the Ohio State defender.

Pitt faces off against Ohio State on Saturday. (Joy Cao | Senior Staff Photographer)

The Ohio State lead triggered some immediate urgency from Pitt. The Panthers played aggressive trap defense all over the field, challenging Ohio State defenders. This led to the Ohio State goalkeeper playing it long more than once, which gave Pitt the chance to get back on the offensive.

Pitt played a ball up the left wing to West, who bolted past a Buckeye defender and chipped the ball over the keeper to draw the game 2-2 in the 88th minute. West’s goal got her whole team on their feet. Ohio State made one last push upfield, but Pitt was able to clear the ball away, securing the draw.

The spring soccer season served as a preview for the 2022 fall campaign. Players such as West, Pais and Mertz played well this past spring and fall and look to carry that momentum through the summer.

Others such as first-year forward Sarah Schupansky stood out, playing some solid minutes in the second half and doing a good job of getting the ball into the box off of corners. There were also gritty performances from junior defender Athalie Palomo, who was all over the field when she played. Palomo got the fans excited with a flurry of second-half defensive efforts, including a sliding interception on a potentially dangerous ball.

There were also some fairly new faces who got a bigger chance to play, such as first-year forward Mackenzie Evers and fellow first-year forward Sara Darlington.

The main struggle for the Panthers on Saturday was finishing plays in and around the box. Pitt was able to create plenty of chances but often struggled to find the back of the net. In the first half, Pais pulled one shot just left of the goal after faking the keeper out, and Yaple blasted a ball over the crossbar with the keeper scrambling over from the other side of the net.

Pitt will play its final spring season game Thursday at 8:15 p.m. against West Virginia at Ambrose Urbanic Field.