The Pitt News

Women’s soccer wins second straight ACC game

By Kevin Wheeler / Staff Writer

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Coming out of the weekend, the Pitt women’s soccer team is up to seventh place in the ACC, and it’s thanks to the team finishing on the chances it got and striking early.

“We, for once, capitalized on our opportunities,” head coach Greg Miller said. “We’ve positioned ourselves before with great build up and not being able to successfully finish. I thought we did a great job of just finishing the opportunities that we created.”

After earning its second consecutive ACC win, and the second in program history, the Pitt women’s soccer team is riding a significant amount of momentum at the right time.

The Panthers shut out the North Carolina State Wolfpack (2-8-0, 0-4-0) and tacked on three scores of their own on their way to their sixth win of the season. With the win, the Panthers leapfrogged four teams in the ACC standings, and moved into seventh place with a 2-2-0 record.

Miller had an inclination that his Panthers would play well on Saturday.

“I really sensed, and really for the most part of the trip, that this group saw a real opportunity to get another win,” Miller said. “[Saturday], especially, I just really saw them focused and honed in on what the game plan was and what their responsibilities were individually.”

Pitt came out with a full effort once again and scored in the 13th minute of the contest. Junior midfielder and forward Roosa Arvas, who now is tied for most goals in the ACC, scored a ball from the right side of the field at the top of the box off the foot of freshman Taylor Pryce to put the Panthers up 1-0.

As a team with a tendency to give up the early goal, Pitt was finally on the other side of the situation.

“[That goal] was exactly what we needed,” Miller said. “It just provided us with some additional confidence and a little bit of a boost, and it was really characteristic of how we were playing for the entire first half.”

Senior co-captain Jackie Poucel knows through her years of varsity experience that the first goal is always important.

“It’s a huge advantage when you go up a goal first. It puts the pressure on the other team, and they have to work harder,” Poucel said. “But the key is to keep playing like it is 0-0 with no let downs, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Although Pitt held a 1-0 lead going into the half, Miller and the coaching staff knew that they had to continue to widen the scoring gap, as one more goal was necessary if the Panthers were going to pull out a win.

But Pitt had trouble keeping up with consistent intensity, as they gave up 17 shots in the second half alone.

“As the second half opened up, NC State was the aggressor,” Miller said. “They came out with a lot more intensity, trying to get that tying goal and apply a lot more pressure to us, and we didn’t do a great job of responding. We were sitting back a little bit and not doing a lot of the things that we did well in the first half.”

Eventually, however, the Panthers broke through to score twice more. 

In the 73rd minute, freshman midfielder Hanna Hannesdottir improved Pitt’s lead after flicking a shot over a Wolfpack defender as she lost her balance. The ball lofted over the head of the sophomore Wolfpack keeper Mackenzie Stelljes and into the left side of the goal to put the Panthers up 2-0.

Seven minutes later, the early scoring combination of Arvas and Pryce switched roles. Pryce scored off an Arvas pass as she shook off a defender and punched a shot past the charging Stelljes, putting Pitt up 3-0 with 10 minutes remaining.

Pitt held on without allowing a score.

Now, Pitt has put together three straight solid performances and exited its three-game road stint with a 2-1 record.

Pitt plays next when Notre Dame travels to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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Women’s soccer wins second straight ACC game