The University of Pittsburgh women’s soccer team fell to No. 4 Duke on Sunday afternoon at Ambrose Urbanic Field by a score of 2-0.
The match against Duke was Senior Day for the Panthers a seniors Arielle Fernandez, Taylor Francis, Niki Hopkins, Siobhan McDonough and Emily Pietrangelo were all honored before the beginning of the match, along with senior manager Rosie Davidson.
“It’s been a special thing, this class, it was 2012 when they started,” said head coach Greg Miller.
“For these five kids to come through as they did and to grow and mature, not just mature as players but also as human beings, it has been a joy to be a part of. It has been special, near and dear to our [coaches] hearts, because this was our first recruiting class. Taking them as our first recruits to watching them play their last home match, time goes by so fast. We are really happy to have them be seniors and leading this team. Helping them grow and watching them has been tremendous. I’m excited to see what they are going to get into once they graduate.”
Duke struck quickly, scoring in the fourth minute as Toni Payne netted her sixth of the season on an assist from Christina Gibbons. Gibbons would send a cross pass to Payne who took a touch before sending it past goalkeeper Taylor Francis.
The Blue Devils extended their lead just three minutes later when a clear attempt near the corner of the cage was intercepted by Ella Stevens, giving Duke the 2-0 lead.
“The second goal was definitely preventable,” added Miller.
“We were all standing around thinking the ball went out of bounds and they kept playing. They kept playing and we didn’t and they took advantage of it. The first half went along and I thought we settled down a little bit more. In the second half, we were much more disciplined. I thought our procession was a little bit better and we were better on the attack but it just wasn’t enough. We got get better and we can’t just defend for 85 minutes.
That would be the final scoring of the contest, as both teams were held off the scoresheet for more than 80 minutes. In her final match at Ambrose Urbanic Field, senior keeper Francis was stellar, recording 13 saves on 15 shot on goal attempts by the Blue Devils.
Sarah Krause had Pitt’s lone shot on goal, as Duke keeper EJ Proctor was forced to make just one save on the afternoon.
With the loss, Pitt falls to 2-14-1 and 1-7-1 in the ACC. The Panthers will close out the 2016 season on Thursday, traveling to Cary, N.C., for a meeting with North Carolina State.