Pitt women’s soccer (8-2-0, 1-1-0 ACC) kicked off their ACC home opener against No. 10 Notre Dame (6-1-2, 2-0-0 ACC) with a draw, 1-1, on a misty Sunday afternoon at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
The last time the Panthers faced Notre Dame in regular ACC play, they walked away with their first win against the Fighting Irish in program history. Going into the game, Notre Dame was in the midst of a three-game winning streak, while Pitt was coming off a loss.
But Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum wasn’t too concerned about how the Panthers would play coming off of a loss.
“Everyone was pumped,” Waldrum said. “After last Thursday night, you know, you as a coach would worry that they would be mentally out of it, but I think they were able to put that game behind them and really get ready for this one.”
Pitt’s energy allowed them to rise to the occasion, snapping Notre Dame’s winning streak on Sunday after the game ended in a draw.
Notre Dame took control offensively for the first 15 minutes of the game, while Pitt played aggressive defense. Pitt first-year midfielder Deborah Abiodun fouled twice in the first five minutes and received a yellow card in the 19th minute. After the half, Pitt racked up seven fouls total.
After the 21st minute, the Panthers settled down and tested the Fighting Irish’s defense. Pitt reciprocated several shots in the second half of the first period, with seven shots to Notre Dame’s five, but none hit the mark.
After the 30th minute, possession went back and forth, each team scrambling for a shot to end the scoreless draw.
In the 41st minute, Notre Dame stole possession from Pitt, resulting in a corner kick for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame senior midfielder Erin Hohnstein took a shot that just missed the inside of the net and hit the post. Hohnstein’s shot was the closest one in the first half of the match.
The horn sounded for the end of the first half, and the game remained scoreless. The Panthers committed as many fouls as they did shots.
The second half had a similar form to the first when it came to Pitt’s defense. The Panthers committed six more fouls in the second half, racking up 13 total on the game.
Notre Dame’s offense tested Pitt sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Breech in the second half. Notre Dame took six shots between the 50th and 55th minutes. In the 53rd minute, Notre Dame first-year midfielder Morgan Roy took a promising shot, but Breech managed to make the save at the top left corner of the net. Breech then dove for another save in the bottom left corner of the net in the 55th minute.
In the 59th minute, Notre Dame stretched Pitt’s defense and Notre Dame senior midfielder Kristina Lynch found herself with an open shot. The ball shot past Breech in the center of the net, breaking the scoreless tie and giving Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
Despite the goal, Pitt’s response never let up. Pitt fifth-year defender Ashton Gordon knew just how tough it was to play Notre Dame.
“I mean, they’re very organized,” Gordon said. “They cause problems, but we had prepared for that.”
In the 69th minute, Pitt fifth-year forward Amanda West took a shot at the top center of the net, but Notre Dame first-year goalkeeper Jackie Hollomon sprung up and tipped the ball just outside the post. West’s shot was the first close shot the Panthers had at scoring a goal.
The close shot amped up the Panthers’ energy, creating more opportunities for them to score. In the 76th and 77th minutes, the Panthers took three corner kicks, but all just missed the mark.
In the 81st minute, Pitt had yet another corner kick. The ball sailed to Abiodun where she kicked it into the center of the net. The Panthers tied the game with less than 10 minutes left of play.
The Panthers took several shots in the last 10 minutes. Gordon and her team tried to get one more goal to take the lead.
“Risk everything and try to score a goal,” Gordon said. “We were all just fighting and everyone was working so hard.”
Pitt junior forward Samiah Phiri took a promising shot in the 84th minute to try and secure the win, but Hollomon made the save. Soon enough, the horn for the end of the game blew and the final score was 1-1.
The Panthers will return to Ambrose Urbanic Field Saturday against Boston College to continue ACC play.
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