Pitt women’s soccer drops second straight conference game

By Jeff Carpenter / Staff Writer

After a hot start to its season, Pitt women’s soccer is coming back down to Earth after its second straight conference loss, but it improved on the 6-0 margin of defeat from its earlier loss at Florida State.

Pitt (9-3-1, 3-2-0 ACC) didn’t allow many chances to Boston College, but its counterparts took advantage of the few that it did. The Eagles (9-4-1, 3-1-1 ACC) scored twice, the final goal coming in the 66th minute to doom the Panthers and send them on their first two-game losing streak of the year with the 2-1 loss on Thursday night.

The conference loss to the Eagles comes on the heels of a defeat suffered at Florida State, where the Panthers fell 6-0 this past Sunday.

“[The loss was] a tough one because a game like this puts us over the hump a little bit and puts us more in the right direction,” head coach Greg Miller said.

The Panthers jumped out of the gates early, establishing solid possession over the first 10 minutes, threading passes throughout the field. They maintained that tempo for the rest of the first half, as they finished on top in shots by a 13-2 margin.

Despite the quick jolt of energy, Boston College found the net first 13 minutes in when redshirt junior McKenzie Meehan redirected a header past junior goalkeeper Taylor Francis. Meehan’s tally gave her 11 goals on the season and 40 on her career, becoming the Eagles’ all-time leading goal scorer.

The Panthers answered when freshman forward Jarena Harmon found herself with the ball in the box and turned before sneaking the ball past Boston College goalkeeper Alexis Bryant. The 27th-minute goal helped Harmon pad her team lead in goals, with seven.

“We’re still creating tons of wonderful opportunities, we just have to be better in front of the goal,” Miller said. “We’re a team that can keep the ball. We’re a team that can attack the ball in a variety of ways. We’re a team that can battle, fight and shot block.”

Bryant’s heroics kept Boston College afloat until the Eagles took control of the game. Bryant finished the evening with 10 saves. Francis didn’t record a save for the Panthers.

“We completely dominated the first half, we just couldn’t get anything in to save our lives. In the second half, we lost control of the midfield, and I think that was what caused the tide to turn,” Francis said.

The Eagles struck again in the 66th minute when Hayley Dowd buried her seventh goal of the season from inside the box with a well placed strike on the left side of the frame.

The goal preceded an onslaught from Boston College, one that saw the team register 12 shots in the second half, finishing with 14 total. Pitt finished with 21 shots, but only the one goal.

The equalizer never came. Senior forward Roosa Arvas launched a good opportunity high of the frame with 16 minutes remaining off a feed from Harmon. Sophomore defender Niki Hopkins saw a header stuffed on the goal line by Bryant. Junior defender Emily Pietrangelo pounced on a free kick that squirted out of the box, but her shot went wide with just four minutes remaining.

“We just let the game slip out of our hands, unfortunately, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.” Francis said. “Game’s over. We gotta let it sink in tonight, and then forget about it tomorrow.”

There isn’t much time to dwell on the loss, as the Panthers welcome Syracuse to town for a Sunday matinee. The Orange (4-9-1, 0-5-0 ACC) also face a quick turnaround, as they fell to No. 16 Notre Dame 1-0 Thursday night.

“The unfortunate part about Syracuse is we have a small window between now and then. Can we put together a good game plan that is going to suit us well on Sunday? We’re at home, so we don’t have to travel which is a huge positive, and Syracuse is coming off of a loss.” Miller said.

The Panthers will next face off against a Syracuse team still searching for its first conference victory of the season. The two conference combatants will link up on Sunday at Ambrose Urbanic Field, and kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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