Women’s Soccer: Offensive woes continue in shutout loss to Virginia Tech

By Andrew Stern / Staff Writer

The offensive struggles continued for Pitt women’s soccer Sunday afternoon when it fell to No. 6 Virginia Tech in a 4-0 shutout loss. Head coach Greg Miller, for one, was perplexed by the team’s lackluster performance.

“I don’t know if we got caught up in the emotions of Senior Day,” Miller said. “This is not the team that we had in training this week.”  

Sunday’s loss was the 10th consecutive defeat for the Panthers (4-11-1, 0-10-0 ACC) and sixth consecutive match the Panthers have failed to tally a goal, a streak that dates back to a 3-1 loss to Virginia on the 26th of September.

“We had a very aggressive and productive week of training, and I thought that would transfer to the game today,” Miller said. “For some reason we were very reactionary, and dug ourselves a big hole that we could not get out of.”

The Hokies (13-1-2, 8-1-1 ACC) took control of Sunday’s Senior Day match from the outset. After coming close to scoring a few times, the Hokies tallied a pair of goals just four minutes apart.

In the 15th minute, Hokie defender Taylor Antolino sent a ball into the box that Hokie midfielder Kelsey Loupee was able to track down. Loupee then moved the ball to Katie Yensen, who roofed a shot over Pitt goaltender Taylor Francis.  

Following the first goal, Virginia Tech was able to strike for its second goal of the match when Murielle Tiernan was able to knock in a cross from Loupee.

“We had a team meltdown today, and it happens,” Francis said. “[Virginia Tech] had great crosses today and finishes, so those are definitely things we need to work on in practice.”

The offensive onslaught was not finished, as Virginia Tech struck for its third goal of the match eight minutes later when Jazmine Reeves sent another perfect cross into the box that Yensen was able to track down and direct into the back of the net.

The goal was the second of the match for Yensen, and Virginia Tech’s final goal of the first half.

Following the halftime break, the Hokies replaced six members of their starting lineup including goal-scorers Katie Yensen and Murielle Tiernan.

Despite the mass substitutions, Virginia Tech was able to strike for another goal in the 55th minute.  Katie Deturo found fellow substitute Ashley Manning in the heart of the Pitt box, who was able to turn and send a perfect strike into the back of the net.

Following the fourth goal, Pitt was able to record a pair of shots but neither found the net. The Panthers finished Sunday’s match with only three total scoring tries.

Sunday’s matinee was the final home contest of the season, and was a historic matchup, as Pitt set a school record for the most (6) nationally ranked opponents in a season.

But the Panthers lost all of those matches, and concluded their home schedule with a 3-6 overall record. With three matches remaining in the season, captain Morgan Sharick remains optimistic the Panthers can record their first ACC victory.

“We still have three more opportunities to go out and earn nine possible [ACC] points, which is not out of the question,” Sharick said. “We have three winnable games remaining, and I have faith in this team. There’s still something left in us.”