The Pitt News

Pitt women’s soccer finishes Colorado road trip on high note with overtime win

By Chris Puzia / Contributing Editor

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After 90 minutes of fruitless offense, Ashley Moreira decided it was time for the Panthers to go home.

The sophomore Pitt midfielder netted the game-winning goal just five minutes into overtime, sending the Panthers out of Colorado and back to Pittsburgh with a win over Colorado College on Sunday.

Moreira’s first goal of the season broke a 0-0 tie against host Colorado College, giving Pitt (2-1-1) a split between its two games out west and snapping the Tigers’ 24-game home winning streak.

Head coach Greg Miller said he told his players the overtime period would shape their mindset far after the game ends.

“I told the team that they were going to defeat or be defeated,” Miller said. “It was our third overtime game this year, we just couldn’t finish the job before. I said, ‘You have a choice. You can persevere or go home with another loss,’ and we just grinded our way to victory.”

Despite only recording four shots on goal to the Tigers’ 10 and drawing seven offside calls, Pitt held strong thanks to junior goalkeeper Taylor Francis’ prowess in the net.

Colorado College, which finished last season 12-5-4, repelled any string of passes Pitt put together near the goal, clearing out and keeping the ball near midfield. Freshman midfielder Lauren Milliet led the Tigers’ charge with three shots on goal, but Francis kept them out of the net.

“I told the team that they were going to defeat or be defeated.”

“Taylor is a stalwart for us. She’s very consistent,” Miller said. “We want to take pressure off of Taylor by scoring goals and keeping the ball away from dangerous goal-scoring opportunities, and at the end of the day, she did her job.”

Pitt began the overtime with renewed energy, maintaining possession and giving itself chances. Finally, sophomore forward Taylor Pryce lobbed a pass in front of Moreira, who had slipped by the defenders and carved out space inside the 18-yard box. She took a couple of touches and lifted a shot past Tiger goalkeeper Louisa Mackenzie on the right side of the net.

“Since Thursday, we were upset about that loss, so we wanted to come in and get a win,” Moreira said, referring to Pitt’s 1-0 loss in overtime at Northern Colorado. “The goal was really exciting, especially since it came in overtime right away.”

The game started with some back-and-forth play, as the Panthers recorded the first three shots of the game. But Colorado College finished the first half with four shots on goal, compared to Pitt’s two. Francis was busy early, and she made four saves in the first half and dealt with possession lingering in Pitt’s defensive zone.

“Taylor has a great ability to keep us going, get momentum together,” Moreira said. “We look back at her and say, ‘Let’s do this for Taylor.’ For her and the team it’s rewarding.”

Pitt’s early aggressiveness did not net it any goals, partly because of three offside calls in the game’s first 13 minutes. Sophomore midfielder Hanna Hannesdottir led the Panthers in the first half with three shots, though none of them were on target.

One of Colorado College’s best chances came early in the second half. Senior midfielder Sarah Schweiss took a low arcing shot bound for the bottom right corner of the net, but Francis pounced on the ball and snared it.

Had Pitt not won the game, a missed chance by senior forward Roosa Arvas late in regulation might have stuck in Miller’s mind more than it will now.

Arvas broke free with seconds left in regulation with a good look at the goal. She took a few more touches and geared up for a shot, but by the time she was ready to shoot, a defender returned and blocked the shot just before the referee whistled for the end of regulation.

“The win is huge. You want to make this travel out and challenge teams,” Miller said. “We’re still relatively young, so I wanted to see how the team would bounce back from Thursday’s loss. The win today is big for momentum coming back.”

Miller said while the travel is difficult, it was not the reason for the Thursday loss to Northern Colorado as much as a lack of respect.

“The kids didn’t feel [the geography] was a factor, that elevation on their home field,” Miller said. “You go in with questionable respect, and things are going to happen. We learned lessons from Thursday and put them into play today.”

The Panthers now return to Pittsburgh for three home games. The team’s next contest comes on Sept. 4 against Villanova at 5 p.m.

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Pitt women’s soccer finishes Colorado road trip on high note with overtime win