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Women's soccer coach Greg Miller finds encouragement in 6-0 defeat - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Women’s soccer coach Greg Miller finds encouragement in 6-0 defeat

Sophomore+Taylor+Pryce+prepares+for+a+pass.+Wenhao+Wu+%7C+Staff+Photographer
Sophomore Taylor Pryce prepares for a pass. Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

Sophomore Taylor Pryce prepares for a pass. Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

Sophomore Taylor Pryce prepares for a pass. Wenhao Wu | Staff Photographer

By Jeff Carpenter / Staff Writer

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It’s hard to find the positive in a 6-0 loss, but Pitt head women’s soccer coach Greg Miller managed to Saturday after losing at Florida State .

“To be honest, I am generally pleased with how we played the game — especially in the first half,” Miller said.

Despite Pitt’s strong record (9-2-1, 3-1-0 ACC) heading into the game, it has not fared well against No. 2 FSU. The last two times Pitt and Florida State met on the pitch, the Panthers couldn’t register a shot, and the Seminoles forced junior goalkeeper Taylor Francis to make a career-high 16 saves on 31 shots in a 3-0 loss last year. Despite the loss, the Panthers fared better against Florida State this weekend.

“It’s the first game we’ve had some offense against them in three years. This year, we were able to get some shots, and not only did we get shots, but we had legitimate chances to score.” Miller said. “There was a five-minute lapse where we gave up three similar goals, but we should have probably scored one or two goals in the first half.”

The team might have started to feel a repeat of last year’s game near halftime, as Florida State began an offensive onslaught.

Freshman midfielder Natalia Kuikka began that stretch when she notched her fourth goal of the year in the 35th minute to make it 2-0 FSU. Freshman midfielder Dallas Dorosy followed by finishing on a cross four minutes later. It only  took 55 seconds for the Seminoles to bury their fourth goal, courtesy of redshirt junior forward Berglind Thorvaldsdottir. Tillman assisted on the third and fourth goals, finishing with three helpers on the day.

That brief but potent stretch from the No. 2 team in the country put a swift end to Pitt’s program-record eight-game winning streak, its best since at least 2000. The game was Pittsburgh’s first loss since it travelled to Northern Colorado on Aug. 27, and lost 1-0.

Sophomore forward Taylor Pryce and the Panthers knew the challenge they faced coming into Saturday’s tilt.

“We need to stay focused and not get ahead of ourselves because it only gets tougher from here.” Pryce said entering the game.

For Florida State (10-1-1, 3-0-1 ACC), the dominating win is nothing new. The Seminoles came into this season with high expectations, as they won the national championship in 2014 over Virginia, and were the runners-up the year prior.

“FSU is a really good team. Credit them for breaking us down and finding success,” Miller said.

Francis finished with two saves, as did Florida State redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Cassie Miller, who registered her fourth shutout of the season.

That shutout did not come without at least some Panther resistance.

“The way we’ve been getting scoring chances on every team is exactly what happened today. From that standpoint, I was really pleased.” Miller said.

Although Pitt tallied three of its four shots in the first half, Miller said he thought the team improved over the course of the game.

“Despite the score at halftime, I felt good about where we were. We addressed the issues, and I thought we did a much better job in the second half — until we stopped playing soccer,” Miller said.

The Seminoles notched an early second half goal on a header from Kuikka off a free kick from freshman midfielder Megan Connolly. The Seminoles’ final goal came with just eight seconds remaining on the clock, when Thorvaldsdottir headed home her second goal of the night for her fifth of the season.

Though its match with the No. 2-ranked team is now behind them, Pitt’s ACC schedule doesn’t let up any time soon.

The Panthers still face off against No. 3 Virginia, No. 7 Clemson, No. 9 Virginia Tech and No. 22 Duke. The first of those games, at Clemson, comes on Oct. 16. With those ranked matchups coming up, Pitt’s next two games against Syracuse and Boston College are even more important so Pitt does not fall behind in the ACC race.

The Panthers hope to rebound on Thursday when they take on Boston College (8-4-1, 2-1-1 ACC) at Ambrose Urbanic Field at 7 p.m. The Eagles lost 2-0 on Friday to No. 1 North Carolina. The game will air on ESPN3.

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Women’s soccer coach Greg Miller finds encouragement in 6-0 defeat