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Late VCU penalty kick conversion hands Pitt first defeat of season, 3-2,

Pitt women’s soccer team (6-1-0) suffered its first defeat of the 2022 season, seeing its six-game season-opening winning streak snapped with a 3-2 setback to host VCU (2-1-4) Thursday at SportsBackers Stadium.

The Panthers fell to the Rams despite holding the advantage in shots (27-13) and shots on goal (15-6). The contest was a back-and-forth battle in which the two squads traded goals in both halves, but VCU ultimately prevailed on a penalty kick in the 89th minute scored by Anna Bagley.

“Disappointing loss tonight, especially after fighting back twice to tie the game,” head coach Randy Waldrum said. “Defensively, we were very poor and didn’t deserve to win. The goals we conceded were unacceptable, and we must clean this up if we want to succeed in the ACC.”

The Panthers found themselves trailing for the first time all season when VCU struck for the first goal of the match in the sixth minute. Kendyl Sarver scored from the top center of the goal, with Kanna Matsuhisa and Milica Bulatovic assisting.

Pitt struck back 20 minutes later, though, as Leah Pais delivered her third goal of the season and third in the last two matches, scoring from the bottom left of the goal off her right foot. Anna Bout set the score up with her team-leading fourth assist of the year.

VCU broke through in the 55th minute as Sarver earned a brace by scoring from the bottom right of the goal off an assist by Bagley.

The Panthers evened the score again, however, in the 78th minute, scoring off a set piece as Sarah Schupansky converted from the bottom right of the net.

Unfortunately for Pitt, the Rams scored what proved to be the game winner 10 minutes later, drawing a foul in the penalty area to set up the winning kick by Bagley.

The Panthers got off two shots in the final minute, one by Samiah Phiri from the bottom right of the net and one by Bout from the bottom left of the net, but Whitney Horton saved both for the Rams to secure the victory for VCU.

Six Panthers posted multiple shots, with Ellie Coffield leading the game with five total and a game-high four on goal. Pais registered four shots while Bout, Schupansky and Landy Mertz each tallied three. Caitlyn Lazzarini played all 90 minutes in goal, finishing with three saves.

Sarver, Bagley and Matsuhisa each recorded three shots and two shots on goal to lead VCU. Horton compiled 13 saves in 90 minutes in net for the Rams.

Pitt will look to wrap up non-conference play with a win when its hosts Liberty in a Senior Day showdown Sunday at Ambrose Urbanic Field. First touch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

PITT NOTES

  • Pitt fell to 1-6 all-time against VCU.
  • Leah Pais has racked up 32 points and 12 goals in her two-plus seasons as a Panther since transferring from Albany following her freshman year.
  • Leah Pais’ first three goals this season were scored in a span of 55 minutes of game play dating back to last Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Cincinnati. Pais scored two second half goals in a span of five minutes in the win over the Bearcats.
  • Anna Bout has now compiled 14 career assists, which is good for the fifth-most in program history.
  • Sarah Schupansy has scored all four of her goals this season over the last four games. She has now tallied 11 career goals in 25 games played at Pitt.

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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