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‘Vastly improving’ Pitt women battle back, but lose in OT to No. 15 Clemson

Photo courtesy Pitt Athletics

‘Vastly improving’ Pitt women battle back, but lose in OT to No. 15 Clemson

FINAL: Clemson 3, Pitt 2 (OT)

Pitt women’s soccer came from behind, but ultimately fell 3-2 in overtime to No. 15 Clemson Sunday afternoon at Historic Riggs Field.

A game after breaking the school’s single-season points record, Amanda West tied the assists record with Charity McClure (1998) and Katelyn Ruhe (2010) at nine. Second half goals by Vildan Kardesler (65′) and former Shady Side Academy standout Krystyna Rytel (69’) forced the match into overtime.

“It just goes to show you the kind of year we’ve had with this group. They’ve been resilient all year. I can’t count the number of times we’ve come back,” Randy Waldrum, Pitt’s head coach, said. “To do it again against the No. 15 ranked team in the country and take it to overtime, it just says a lot for us.”

West put the Panthers’ first shot on goal in 17th minute, and the Tigers’ goalkeeper slid out right in front of her to make the save.

The Tigers got on the board first from a shot on the edge of the left side of the box that curled into the top right corner of the net.

Pitt had back-to-back corners in the 43rd minute that resulted in a header just going wide left for Kate McKay. Goalkeeper Amaia Pena made a diving save three minutes into the second half on a header from just a few yards in front of her.

West made a move to split two defenders and get a shot off from 10 yards out, but the Tigers’ goalkeeper was right there to make the save in the 59th minute.

One minute later, Clemson doubled their lead on a shot from dead center 25 yards out that went into the left side of the net.

The Panthers’ first goal was created by West, who got by a defender and sent a cross from the left corner into the box for Vildan Kardesler to head in the right side of the net.

Just four minutes later Krystyna Rytel tied the game up with her first collegiate goal, pouncing on a rebound after Kardesler shot’s out far outside the right side of the box hit the cross bar.

Pena made a sprawling save in the 83rd minute, and followed with another save from a corner kick that followed. Caitlyn Lazzarini entered in the 83rd minute and recorded two saves to close out regulation.

Clemson got the golden goal two minutes into overtime, with Hal Hershfelt recording it straight on from the top of the box.

With the loss, Pitt drops to 5-9-3 overall record, and 2-5-2 in ACC play, but once again, they pushed a top team in the ultra competitive conference to the brink.

“The hard part is the players and staff were so close this year, and we wanted to be the finished product now,” Waldrum added. “The reality is it’s a building process, and couldn’t be more proud to go from no wins last year and only scoring two goals in conference play to having two wins and two ties already and two more games on top of it that we’ve gone into overtime. It’s been a vast improvement. We couldn’t have done these things last year. I’m really proud of the improvement these players have made.

PITT’S STARTING LINEUP

  • Amaia Pena, Mackenzie Edwards, Hollie Olding, Margert Arnadottir, Amanda West, Cheyenne Hudson, Anna Bout, Athalie Palomo, Kate McKay, Vildan Kardesler, Dixon Veltri

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Clemson had the advantage in shots (30-11), shots on goal (14-5) and corner kicks (7-4).
  • Pena finished with nine saves and has 32 in the last three games.
  • Pitt dropped its second-straight road game in overtime, losing 3-2 (2OT) at Wake Forest Thursday. The Panthers were undefeated (2-0-3) in overtime games entering the week.
  • West had a team-high three shots with two on goal, and Kardesler also had two shots on goal.

UP NEXT

  • The Panthers close out the season with No. 25 Virginia Tech Thursday at 7 p.m.

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