Panthers continue tough ACC stretch against ranked FSU Saturday

By Kevin Wheeler / Staff Writer

After losing to No. 6 North Carolina Sunday, the Panthers may not reach their goal of 11 wins this season. But the Pitt women’s soccer team still aims to stay focused on the stretch run of their upcoming ACC schedule.

Pitt is currently tenth in the ACC with a 2-4-0 conference record to accompany a 6-8-0 record overall. The team’s next test comes Saturday afternoon at noon against No. 2 Florida State at Ambrose Urbanic Field inside the Petersen Sports Complex.

Pitt may have accepted the possibility that it may not reach its goal in the self-proclaimed “Year of 11 Wins” many weeks ago after struggling earlier this season. But sophomore co-captain Siobhan McDonough has noticed her team’s overall progress as the season begins to wind down.

“Coming into this season, no ACC team respected us,” she said. “Now, with two wins and the chance for more, we are accomplishing what we wanted to do as a team: establish a new identity for Pittsburgh soccer.”

Head coach Greg Miller is optimistic about his team and has emphasized the conference standings to his players, something he wasn’t paying much attention to a few weeks back.

“If we could finish inside the top ten, then that’s a huge accomplishment … and I think we could consider that a productive year,” Miller said.

With a relatively inexperienced team taking the field, Miller expected some issues this year.

“We’re a young team and they have to go through growing pains,” he said. “As a coach, you always hope that you can go through that and win games at the same time, but it’s just the way the cards played out for us this year.”

With the Seminoles (13-1-0, 6-0-0 ACC) coming into Saturday undefeated in ACC games, Pitt has been working especially hard this week to remain organized defensively.

“They are very patient and very methodical in what they do,” Miller said. “They’re not going to freak out or panic, so we always have to be on guard.”

Depending on how comfortable Florida State head coach Mark Krikorian feels with placing a large number of his players forward on offense, the Panthers could have some room to work in transition. But Florida State is very quick in its defensive recovery, so Pitt will have to be accurate with the chances it does get.

Miller knows the only way his team can win this match is if it ignores the Seminoles’ ranking and focuses on the game.

“We’ve been the underdog in a lot of games and [the coaching staff] has taught [the players] not to be afraid of anybody,” Miller said. “You can respect your opponent, for sure, but that doesn’t mean that we have to cower to them. If our kids are up for a fight, then hopefully we can come out and give them one.”