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FINAL: Florida State 1, Pitt 0

Photo courtesy Pitt Athletics
ACC Women’s Soccer
FINAL: Florida State 1, Pitt 0

Match Stats

Match Summary

The No. 20-ranked Pitt women’s soccer team (12-4-1, 5-3-1 ACC) suffered its first home loss of the 2022 season Sunday at Ambrose Urbanic Field, falling to No. 4-ranked Florida State (11-2-2, 7-2-0 ACC), 1-0, in a hard-fought battle.

“I was extremely proud of our team today,” head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We have shown that we can now play with anyone in the country. This performance, like the Duke performance, was fantastic, and even though we didn’t get the results, we had the chances to win.”

The Panthers and Seminoles played an evenly contested opening 45 minutes of play, with the Seminoles possessing the ball 58 percent of the half while the Panthers possessed it for 42 percent of play. Florida State attempted nine shots with just two coming on goal while Pitt held a 2-1 edge in in corner opportunities.

Pitt had several quality chances in the first 20 minutes of the second half but could not cash in. Florida State then broke through on a goal by Leilanni Nesbeth in the 67th minute to make it 1-0 in favor of the Seminoles.

The Panthers made a final push to try to find the equalizer in the final four minutes of play. A shot by Samiah Phiri in the 87th minute was blocked. Pitt earned a corner opportunity that led by a shot by Landy Mertz being blocked in the 88th minute. Keera Melenhorst was then fouled 10 seconds later just outside the penalty box, leading to a free kick by Ellie Coffield that just missed its mark and hit the crossbar. Pitt got one final shot off in the 90th minute, but the attempt by Ashton Gordon was off target.

Florida State ended the contest with 14 shots, four of which came on goal, while Pitt finished with 13 shots and four shots on goal.

“Defensively, our back four was very good and really contained their attack, which is so potent. I thought offensively the chances we created were dangerous, and we were unfortunate not to put a couple away,” Waldrum said.

Mertz led Pitt with four shots and two shots on goal while Coffield, Phiri and Gordon each logged two shots.

Jenna Nighswonger led Florida State with a game-high five shots.

Caitlyn Lazzarini registered three saves for the Panthers while Mia Justus tallied a game-high four saves for the Seminoles.

“Now our focus is on a massive game against Clemson on Thursday and a chance to wrap up an ACC berth,” Waldrum said. “Our fans have been fantastic, and we need them on Thursday night.”

Pitt hosts Clemson next Thursday in its final game of the 2022 regular season. First touch is slated for 7 p.m. The matchup will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.

Preview / PSN’s Recent Pitt Coverage 

The Pitt Panthers have already had another breakthrough season under the helm of Head Coach Randy Waldrum this season.

Now, they’re looking for a win against a top 10 opponent that will cement their place in the ACC women’s soccer  standings in order to qualify for the league’s postseason tournament, which only takes the top six teams.

Current ACC Women’s Soccer Standings 

The Panthers are currently in fourth place, tied with Duke, with 16 points. while Florida State is above them, as part of a trio of teams tied for first place, with 18 points.

On Thursday, Pitt wore down a fiesty challenge from Syracuse, to break the program records for wins and goals in a season.

No. 20 Pitt ‘getting closer’ with record-breaking 2-0 home win vs Syracuse

Head Coach Randy Waldrum said that it was a great win that got them closer to where they want to be.

But where they want to be, is securing that ACC postseason berth and locking up NCAA tournament berth too.

With a win against one of the ACC’s most prominent programs, Pitt can certainly make a big statement and set themselves up well for postseason appearances — and even a run at first place in the ACC.

Samiah Phiri’s late equalizer salvages a road draw for Pitt at Boston College

Pitt Game Notes 

Pitt set new program standards for both wins and goals in a single season courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Syracuse Thursday at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

The Panthers have captured a program-record 12 victories in 2022, surpassing the previous standard of 11 set by the 2020-21 and ’21 squads. Pitt’s five ACC wins this year are the most in a single season in program history since the Panthers joined the league prior to the 2013 campaign. Pitt also set a new program record for goals scored in a single season, raising its total to 43 on the year after potting a pair against the Orange.

Bri Hilsenteger found the back of the net in the 44th minute, then Sarah Schupansky added an insurance goal in the 86th minute to put the contest away.

In addition to the team records falling in the win over Syracuse, Caitlyn Lazzarini set a program record by earning her 20th career victory in goal, overtaking the previous record of 19 that was shared by Morie Kephart (2007-10) and Jamie Pelusi (2002-05). With 12 victories in goal this year, Lazzarini is also the program’s single season wins leader

As the 2022 regular season winds down, the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee has revealed its ranking of the top 10 teams. The Committee has ranked Pitt ninth in its midseason reveal.

Pitt moved up one spot to No. 20 in the United Soccer Coaches Rankings, marking the fourth week in a row the Panthers have been ranked in the national poll.

The Panthers entered the rankings at No. 14 three weeks ago, marking the third-straight year Pitt has appeared in the weekly poll. Pitt moved up one spot to No. 13 two weeks ago, then was ranked No. 21 last week. The Panthers reached as high as No. 19 in the poll last season and No. 12 in 2020.

The Panthers currently occupy the No. 10 spot in the NCAA’s fourth Rating Percentage Index (RPI) report of the 2022 season after opening at No. 18 in the initial report, moving up to seventh three weeks ago and second two weeks ago before being ranked eighth last week.

Pitt is currently fifth in the ACC standings with 16 points, trailing Florida State (18 points), Notre Dame (18), North Carolina (15) and Duke (16). The Blue Devils hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers after topping Pitt, 1-0, earlier this month.

The top six teams in the league will qualify for the 2022 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship. The top two seeds will receive a bye to the semifinals while the third and sixth seeds and fourth and fifth seeds will square off at the campus site of the higher seed on October 30. Both the semifinals (November 3) and championship game (November 6) are slated to be contested at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

Pitt is a perfect 7-0-0 at home so far in 2022. With one more victory at Ambrose Urbanic Field, the Panthers can break a tie with the 2021 squad for most home victories in a single season.

ACC play has seen Pitt record its first-ever wins over Virginia Tech (4-1) and Notre Dame (3-1). The Panthers were previously 0-7-1 against the Hokies and 0-15-1 against the Fighting Irish.

The Panthers are now 43-37-5 under the leadership of fifth-year head coach Randy Waldrum. After going 9-22-4 in the first two years of a massive rebuild, Pitt has gone 34-17-1 over the last two-plus seasons.

With two games still to play in the 2022 regular season, Pitt has already set a program record for points in a single season with 125 (43 goals, 39 assists). The previous high-water mark was shared by the 2020-21 and 1998 teams with 104. The Panthers’ 125 points are good for sixth in NCAA Division I while their 7.81 points per game rank 10th.

Pitt has outscored the opposition 43-15 so far in 2022. The Panthers’ 43 goals are a program record and are tied with Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Quinnipiac for the fifth-most in NCAA Division I this season. Pitt is ninth in the nation in scoring offense with 2.69 goals per game.

The Panthers have seen 13 different players find the back of the net so far this season. Leah Pais is pacing Pitt, scoring a team-high seven goals. She is tied for seventh among ACC players in goals. Amanda West, who is out for the rest of the season following an injury in the win over Cincinnati, is tied for second on the team with Landy Mertz and Sarah Schupansky with six goals. Mertz has compiled a team-high four game winners, which is tied for most among ACC players. Ellie Coffield (3) and Samiah Phiri (3) round out Pitt’s top six goal scorers. Fleming DeanBri HilsentegerEmily Yaple and Katie Zailski have each cashed in twice. Anna BoutMackenzie Evers and Ashton Gordon have each found the back of the net once.

Eleven different Panthers have distributed assists this season, with Sarah Schupansky leading the way with seven apiece, which is tied for 22nd in the country and second among ACC players. Anna Bout ranks second on the team, tied for 46th in the country and tied for sixth in the ACC with six assists. Bout’s 15 career assists are good for the fifth-most in program history. Landy Mertz and Leah Pais are tied with four assists apiece. Ellie CoffieldAshton GordonKeera MelenhorstSamiah PhiriAmanda West and Emily Yaple have each dished out three assists while Ashley Moon has logged one helper. Pitt’s 39 assists rank as the second-most in program history behind the 2021 squad’s 47. The Panthers are currently ninth in the country in total assists with 39 and 14th in the nation in assists per game with 2.44.

Pitt is set to host its highest ranked opponent since Florida State came to Ambrose Urbanic Field as the No. 2-ranked team in the nation on Oct. 15, 2020. The Panthers have never beaten the Seminoles, with Pitt going 0-9-0 all-time against Florida State thus far.

Brian Pensky has led the Seminoles to a 10-2-2 start to the 2022 season in his first year as Florida State head coach.

The defending national champion Seminoles were picked to finish fourth in the conference in the ACC Preseason Coaches Poll.

Florida State comes into Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers having lost two of their last three, including a 2-1 home setback to No. 2-ranked North Carolina, 2-1, on Thursday.

The Seminoles are currently tied for ninth in the country in goals (41) while giving up 11 on the season. Onyi Echegini leads Florida State with seven goals while Jenna Nighswonger has racked up 19 points off four goals and a team-high 11 assists. Nighswonger is second in the country in assists.

Florida State has utilized two goalkeepers this season, with Mia Justus starting nine games and Cristina Roque starting five. Roque is 6-1-2 on the year with a team-high 33 saves and four shutouts while Justus is 4-1-0 with 15 stops and three shutouts.

Pitt hosts Clemson next Thursday in its final game of the 2022 regular season. First touch is slated for 7 p.m. The matchup will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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