Soccer: Both teams lose in blowouts over weekend

 After hanging tough with a few of the top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pitt women’s soccer team (4-8-1, 0-7 ACC) experienced a major let down in a 4-0 loss against the Syracuse Orange (5-7-1, 1-5-1 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Ambrose Urbanic Field. 

“We absolutely had a let down today,” captain Morgan Sharick said. “We had a full week to get back at it and had some promising things in training, but today we gave up an early easy goal and put our heads down. That kind of performance is unacceptable.”

The afternoon started out promising for the Panthers, as the team dominated the first 15 minutes of the match. Following the opening stretch, the Panthers had a defensive lapse that allowed the Orange to strike off a corner kick from the foot of Jackie Firenze. 

On the play, Firenze sent a perfect ball that midfielder Megan Hunsberger found near the side of the goal and headed into the back of the net. 

“I felt that we had a good week of practice and were prepared. We knew some of the things they wanted to do, yet we still allowed them to do it. The lack of attention to detail was really disappointing,” head coach Greg Miller said. 

Following the goal, the Panthers continued to struggle with the pressure that Syracuse was applying. 

The team did, however, have a golden chance to tie the game and gain some momentum, when Syracuse goalie Brittany Anghel was caught out of position leaving the Orange goal open. But Roosa Arvas’ shot went off the cross bar and bounced away, squashing the Panthers’ best threat to score all afternoon. 

Just 15 minutes later, the Orange extended their lead when Stephanie Skilton received a beautiful give-and-go pass from fellow striker Erin Simon. The goal was one of three that Skilton scored on the day. 

Following the halftime break, the Panthers tried to get back in the match, but just couldn’t crack the tough Syracuse defense. 

The game was fairly even until Syracuse put the match away for good when Stephanie Skilton took a perfect through from Rachel Blum to score the third Orange goal of the match and her second goal. 

Just a mere seven minutes later, Skilton slammed the door shut when the freshman from New Zealand scored her third goal of the match. Following the goal, Miller pulled goalie Nicole D’Agostino, and brought in Taylor Francis for the remaining seven-plus minutes. 

“Today we were not all on the same page, and we were not ready to play,” D’Agostino said.  

The loss dropped the Panthers to 0-7 in ACC play, and was the second-to-last home game of the season. Pitt is off before the team takes to the pitchThursday against Miami and next Sunday against No. 6 Florida State, respectively. 

“Today we were never really able to overcome some of the early mistakes and regroup ourselves. That part of it is really disappointing. Now it’s gut-check time and time to focus on our next game [against Miami],” Miller said. 

 Men’s Soccer

 The Virginia Cavaliers dominated the Pitt men’s soccer team in a 5-0 shutout Friday night, as the Panthers were outshot 17-2 and saw goalkeeper Dan Lynd last for just more than a half of play. 

Pitt (0-6-2, 0-5 ACC) is now the proprietor of a 20-match winless stretch, courtesy of the performance delivered by Virginia (6-3-1, 2-2-1 ACC) at Klockner Field, the Cavaliers’s home stadium.

Riggs Lennon scored in the 10th minute for the only goal Virginia needed during the match. The goal was one of two that the freshman would score during the evening. 

The night got much worse for the Panthers when Virginia struck again in the 20th minute. Pitt was unable to clear the ball out of its defensive zone, and Eric Bird made the Panthers pay, when he shot and scored past a diving Lynd.

Right before the break, the Cavaliers tallied their third goal of the match when they caught the Panthers by surprise with just four minutes to play in the first half. 

Following halftime, Virginia continued to pressure the Panthers, as the Cavaliers struck for the fourth goal of the match. Darius Madison dribbled the down to goal line, where he alertly crossed the ball to a cutting Lennon for the freshman’s second goal and a 4-0 lead. 

 The goal was also the last one that Lynd would allow on the evening, as the sophomore was pulled in favor of freshman Braden Horton with 41 minutes remaining in the match. It was the first time all season that a goalie other than Lynd saw action in net for the Panthers and was also the first time Horton played for Pitt. 

 Over the final 40-plus minutes, Horton played fairly well, as the freshman only allowed one more goal — a strike from Ryan Zinkhan in the 78th minute.