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The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

No. 20 Pitt women’s soccer tops Virginia Tech 2-1

Senior+midfielder+Chloe+Minas+%2815%29+kicks+the+ball+during+the+game+against+Virginia+Tech+at+the+Ambrose+Urbanic+Field+on+Thursday+night.
Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer
Senior midfielder Chloe Minas (15) kicks the ball during the game against Virginia Tech at the Ambrose Urbanic Field on Thursday night.

No. 20 Pitt women’s soccer edged out Virginia Tech 2-1 to earn its 13th win of the year on Thursday night. This was the Panthers’ final regular season game of the year, and they will move on to the ACC Tournament on Sunday. Junior forward Samiah Phiri led Pitt to the win, scoring the Panthers’ second goal on the night.

Pitt started the match off relying heavily on passing and controlling most of the ball possession. A clean-cut Pitt defense worked well against the Hokies’ fast forwards. A slip-up occurred for Pitt when a missed Panther pass turned into a Hokie shot on goal, but was subsequently saved by sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Breech.

After a while of Virginia Tech pushing Pitt’s defense back, the Panthers took control of the play. In the 10th minute, a shot on goal by junior midfielder Keera Melenhorst was saved by senior goalkeeper Alia Skinner. 

In the 11th minute, junior forward Samiah Phiri took a shot that flew over the crossbar. In the 12th minute, Phiri made another shot attempt, but this time Skinner stopped it. 

Pitt slowly gained traction in the early part of the game, but an offside call against Pitt halted the team’s offensive momentum in the 14th minute.

Fifth-year defender Ashton Gordon (32) kicks the ball during the game against Virginia Tech at the Ambrose Urbanic Field on Thursday night. (Nate Yonamine | Senior Staff Photographer)

In the 17th minute, Pitt broke the goal drought, as a clean shot to the top of the goal from redshirt senior forward Landy Mertz found the back of the net.

Mertz was more than glad to contribute to the team.

“To get that one in this big win was really important for us,” Mertz said. “It felt really good to get that one in.” 

At the end of the half, Pitt led in shots, with 12 compared to Virginia Tech’s four. Pitt also led in shots on target, with six against a single Hokie shot on target. 

Coming out of the locker room, the Panthers did not mess around. In the 50th minute, junior forward Sarah Schupansky sent the ball right over the crossbar, narrowly missing the back of the net. Skinner needed to tip the ball to avoid giving up a goal, which forced a Pitt corner kick.

Pitt kept the pressure on, but a foul on fifth-year forward West for going over the goalline halted the Panther’s attack. This moment also led to a very heated moment between Skinner and West. West said the altercation was unexpected.

“Truthfully, I was going for the ball,” West said. “She starts swinging at me. I’ve never had that happen before.”

In the 70th minute, an opportunity arose for Pitt with a yellow card on senior defender Averi Visage for unsportsmanlike conduct against Phiri. This gave Pitt a penalty kick. Schupansky took the penalty shot, but her shot just sailed over the net. 

In the 75th minute, the Panthers found another goal, as Phiri earned the second goal of the night. Phiri’s goal zoomed straight to the bottom of the net. The goal was assisted by junior midfielder Ellie Coffield. Phiri’s efforts gave Pitt a 2-0 lead. 

The Hokies had a fire lit under them following the Panther goal. In the 83rd minute, sophomore forward Natalie Mitchell shot the ball right above Breech’s reach, securing Virginia Tech’s first goal and making the score 2-1. The goal was assisted by senior defender Victoria Haugen. 

A yellow card was called on first-year forward Anna Weir against West, as Weir pulled West’s ponytail out in the 85th minute. 

Pitt ultimately halted any Virginia Tech comeback effort to end the game, walking away with a 2-1 win.

The Panthers end the regular season ranked No. 5 in the ACC, which is a step up from last year. The Hokies also played their final conference game. Virginia Tech sits at No. 7 in the conference — just missing the ACC Tournament. Head coach Randy Waldrum said he is excited for the rest of the season. 

“What we wanted to do this year was obviously make it back to the NCAA tournament and take it farther than the Sweet 16,” Waldrum said. “Hopefully, we can take that a step further.”

The Panthers move to tournament play in the 2023 ACC Tournament. Pitt will travel to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina in the first round on Oct. 29. The game is set to begin at 8 p.m.

About the Contributor
Patrick Diana, Staff Writer