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Pitt Women's Soccer

Panthers drop ACC match to Hokies, 2-1

It was a tough night at Ambrose Urbanic Field Saturday as the Pitt Panthers fell to a talented and well-organized Virginia Tech team, 2-1 in ACC play. The #19 ranked Hokies used an effective line-cutting midfield defense to strip the ball away from Pitt in their efforts to build out of the back. That tactic helped in producing Tech’s first goal of the game at the 15 minute mark.

Pitt would earn a PK in the second half, and defender Ashton Gordon would successfully convert it to level the score at 1-1. But several minutes later, a lapse in defense on a Virginia Tech throw-in would turn into a second goal for the Hokies with less than eight minutes to go in the match, and Tech would hold on to beat the Panthers 2-1.

The loss drops Pitt’s Women to 8-4 overall and 1-3 in ACC, with the defeat against Virginia Tech joining losses to #1 ranked Florida State and Clemson. The Panther’s lone ACC win is a 2-0 victory against Miami.

Gordon, a transfer from the University of Arkansas, scored her first career NCAA goal in the defeat.

Pitt striker Amanda West did not play in the match. It was her seventh game out of the lineup in a row since sustaining an injury against Saint Francis on September 2nd.

At times in the first half, Pitt looked unsure and unfocused, as the Hokies took up positions just outside the final third and pounced on the ball carriers as they attempted to advance upfield. V Tech were also efficient in counter-pressing the Panthers – stealing back the ball in dangerous spots right after Pitt would win possession. There were more than a few errant passes and poorly secured dribbles, although mostly Tech were contained.

Pitt played better in the second half – advancing the ball down the wings with excellent passes from fullback Athalie Palomo up to Anna Bout  on the left or from Hailey Davidson up to Emily Harrigan or Leah Pais on the right. But the final pass eluded them, and Virginia Tech’s stalwart defending from the Hokie’s back four denied the Panthers time and time again.

Randy Waldrum’s team has six matches to impress the NCAA selection committee for a post-season bid. Their upcoming games, against #5 North Carolina at home and #4 Duke away in Durham, will be difficult tests, but an upset in either match would be an impressive demonstration of the team’s capabilities. With the ACC tournament accepting just six teams this year, it would seem unlikely that the currently-tenth place Panthers could engineer enough of a turnabout to get into that competition. But you never know.

FINAL: Pitt 1, Virginia Tech 2


15′ – Virginia Tech Goal, Emily Gray. Assisted by Nicole Kozlova.

64′ – Pitt Goal, Ashton Gordon (PK).

83′ – Virginia Tech Goal, Emily Gray. Assisted by Tori Powell.

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Mark Asher Goodman is a writer for Pittsburgh Soccer Now, covering the Riverhounds, the Pitt Men's and Women's teams, and youth soccer. He also co-hosts a podcast on the Colorado Rapids called 'Holding the High Line with Rabbi and Red.' He has written in the past for the Washington Post, Denver Post, The Athletic, and American Soccer Analysis. When he's not reading, writing, watching, or coaching soccer, he is an actual rabbi. No, really. You can find him on twitter at @soccer_rabbi

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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