The Pitt News

Women’s soccer drops second straight road game to ranked team in No. 22 Duke

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Pitt's women's soccer team suffered its fourth straight shutout in conference play against Florida State . Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt's women's soccer team suffered its fourth straight shutout in conference play against Florida State . Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt's women's soccer team suffered its fourth straight shutout in conference play against Florida State . Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

By Jeff Carpenter / Staff Writer

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In a stretch of road games against ranked teams, women’s soccer coach Greg Miller knows putting up shots and scoring first is paramount.

While Pitt did take a brief lead over No. 22 Duke on Thursday night — thanks to a 24th-minute Sarah Krause goal — the Blue Devils (9-4-4, 3-2-3 ACC) quickly regained the lead en route to a 3-1 win in Koskinene Stadium.

The loss follows a shutout defeat at No. 6 Clemson last Friday in which the Panthers registered just four shots.

“We have to have a little bit better attitude towards scoring goals. Creating is one thing, and scoring is another,” Miller said after the Clemson defeat.

With the late season conference loss, Pitt fell to 10-5-1 and 4-4-0 in the ACC. The Panthers started off strong against a Duke team which established itself in the conference last week by topping No. 5 North Carolina.

Early in the game, Krause, a freshman midfielder, got the Panthers on the board first when she put away a rebound from sophomore forward Taylor Pryce in the 24th minute. Krause’s goal was her third of the season and, despite an increasing role on the team, her first tally since Sept. 13 when Pitt topped Akron, 3-0.

Miller spoke highly of the freshman and said the team has made more attempts to facilitate her the ball.

“She did what she’s been doing all season. She’s so good with the ball on her feet. She has wonderful vision,” he said. “She’s so dynamic in what she does, and we’re just trying to get her the ball as often as possible.”

Pitt’s lead didn’t last long as Duke’s sophomore forward Imani Dorsey tied the game up just six minutes later. Dorsey shot a rocket with her left foot from 20 yards out for her third goal of the year on an assist from sophomore midfielder Ashton Miller.

Just a minute later, Ashton Miller notched her third goal of the season as well, putting the Blue Devils on top with an assist from junior midfielder Toni Payne. Ashton Miller’s 27-yard strike shot found its way past the outreached arms of Pitt junior goalkeeper Taylor Francis and into the bottom right corner of the net.

The matchup pitted together two of the top goalkeepers in the ACC, between Pitt’s Francis and Duke’s sophomore EJ Proctor. Francis, in 15 games played, has a 77.9 save percentage compared to Proctor’s 82.0 save percentage in 14 starts. Both goalies sit on top of the conference with seven shutouts each.

Francis made her 40th consecutive start for the Panthers, finishing the night with 10 saves to Proctor’s seven.

“When you have a good goalkeeper, sometimes you take it for granted,” Greg Miller said. “You just rely on what she does and does so well … Having a good goalkeeper allows you to stay in games. She comes up big more often than not.”

Duke put its finishing touches on the win in the 82nd minute, when a shot attempt from Payne found its way to Ashton Miller, who buried her second goal of the night, giving Duke a 3-1 lead. The Blue Devils outshot Pitt by a 22-14 margin and led in corner kick opportunities, which finished at 5-1 in Duke’s favor.

Pitt has now lost four of its last five games, all ACC battles. Three of the losses came against ranked opponents, with a strong Boston College squad also mixed in. A 1-0 overtime victory over Syracuse split up the two-game losing streaks.

Despite the string of losses, Greg Miller remained upbeat in the team’s improvement.

“I’m really pleased with our effort and the fact that we created wonderful goal scoring chances,” he said. “We feel good about what we set up, but we’re disappointed that we’re still unable to finish those chances to give ourselves a lead.”

With the season coming to a close, the Panthers will try to finish out the season on a positive note with another road game against a ranked team. They travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on No. 7 Virginia Tech (13-2-2, 5-2-1 ACC) on Sunday, Oct. 25. The last time the two teams played, Pittsburgh was home in 2013 and fell by the score of 4-0.

The Hokies took on No. 1 Florida State on Thursday night and finished in a scoreless draw. The VT contest kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be the Panthers’ final road game, as well as Virginia Tech’s senior night. Pitt then comes home and closes out its home schedule against No. 2 Virginia (12-1-1, 6-1-0 ACC) on Halloween.

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Women’s soccer drops second straight road game to ranked team in No. 22 Duke