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FINAL: Notre Dame 1, Pitt 1, (Notre Dame advances on PK’s, 5-4)

2022 ACC Championship First Round

FINAL: Notre Dame 1, Pitt 1 (ND advances on PKs, 5-4)

Match Stats:  LiveStatsBroadcast

Match Summary

The Pitt Panthers put up quite a fight, but eventually fell short in its first ever appearance in the ACC Women’s Soccer tournament, losing to Notre Dame in a match that went to a penalty kick shootout.

Despite being outshot 26-11 (10-4 on frame), the Panthers dug down to storm back and equalize the match in the 71st minute, when Katie Zailski redirected her chance into the goal from close range after a mad scramble following a dangerous Ellie Coffield free kick.

Notre Dame got on the board first, when an unmarked Kiki Van Zanten beat Pitt’s Caitlyn Lazzarini on the back post, thanks to a nice cross in from the right side that came off the foot of Brianna Martinez.

Both teams traded chances late in regulation and into the two 10 minute extra period sessions, but it would go to a penalty kick shootout.

Notre Dame made all of its kicks, capped by Martinez.

With the win, the Irish advance to the ACC Women’s Semifinal on Thursday, while Pitt will have more than a week to official wait to hear if they’ll be selected for an at-large bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer tournament.  If invited, it will be Pitt’s first ever time making the ‘big dance’.

Match Updates

FINAL — NOTRE DAME 1, PITT 1 (ND advances on PKs, 5-4)

PK SHOOTOUT

END OF EXTRA TIME

101′ — Notre Dame with 23-9 advantage in shots

END OF 1ST PERIOD OF ET — PITT 1, NOTRE DAME 1

95′ — What a rocket from Coffield! But the free kick chance from left side is saved by ND’s Makenzie Wood

END OF REGULATION – PITT 1, NOTRE DAME 1

87′ — Pitt almost gets the go-ahead goal, off another free kick from Coffield. This time from closer range, and Leah Pais heads it — but just wide of the left post.

70′ — PITT 1, NOTRE DAME 1

Katie Zeliski is there to get the first foot on it after long free kick in from Ellie Coffield causes ND keeper Mackenzie Wood to come off line and fumble ball. Pitt levels the match, 1-1

57′ — NOTRE DAME 1, PITT 0

57′ —  GOAL for Notre Dame.

After Pitt stepped up its attack a notch, the Irish countered with a cross from right side that went to an unmarked Kiki Van Zanten. Assist came from Brianna Martinez.

HALFTIME – NOTRE DAME 0, PITT 0

At the half, it’s a 0-0 stalemate with Notre Dame on the front foot more often than not. The Panthers have absorbed more pressure and keeper Caitlyn Lazzarini’s made four quality saves. ND with 11 shots (4 on frame) to Pitt’s 2 (1 on frame)

Here are the Panthers’ starters

Preview / Recent PSN’s Pitt Women’s Coverage 

It will be the first-ever postseason conference tournament match for the Panthers, who will look to defeat the Irish for the second time this season.

Pitt has held its own in competition against most of the top teams in the ACC this season, and even without its all-time leading scorer, Amanda West, who suffered an injury early in the season.  Head Coach Randy Waldrum and his coaching staff recruiting has really started to pay dividends, as many players this season have stepped up to provide the team with better depth.

They believe they can make a deep run in both the ACC tournament, and in all likelihood, the NCAA tournament.  But a good showing in the ACC tournament will go a long way in building more confidence and cementing their seeding in the big dance.

The Panthers needed at least a draw against Clemson on Thursday, and despite being on the front foot, couldn’t convert their chances, but still got the result they needed in a 0-0 final clinched the ACC berth.

FINAL: Pitt 0, Clemson 0 (Pitt clinches berth in ACC tournament)

The winner of the matchup between the No. 6-seeded Panthers and the No. 3-seeded Fighting Irish will face No. 2-seeded Florida State in the tournament semifinals on November 3 at WakeMed Park in Cary, N.C. The 2022 ACC Championship Final will be held on November 6 at WakeMed Park.

In the last meeting between the Panthers and the Fighting Irish, Pitt earned a 3-1 win at then-No. T-17-ranked Notre Dame on September 25 in South Bend. The victory marked the Pitt’s first-ever win over Notre Dame.

Column: Pitt women’s soccer serve notice by earning elusive ACC statement win at Notre Dame

Game Notes 

HISTORY MADE
Pitt made program history Thursday at Ambrose Urbanic Field, clinching its first-ever berth in the ACC Championship field courtesy of a 0-0 draw with Clemson.

The Panthers last appeared in postseason play in 2010 – a 1-0 loss at DePaul in the Big East Tournament First Round. Pitt is 0-5 all-time in conference tournament play.

BUILDING THE PROGRAM
The Panthers are now 43-38-6 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 34-18-2 over the last two-plus seasons.

NCAA DIVISION I COMMITTEE TABS PITT TOP TEN
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.

IN THE RANKINGS FOR A FIFTH-STRAIGHT WEEK
Pitt moved up another spot in the United Soccer Coaches Rankings, coming in at No. 19 to mark the fifth week in a row the Panthers have been ranked in the national poll.

The Panthers entered the rankings at No. 14 four weeks ago, marking the third-straight year Pitt has appeared in the weekly poll. Pitt moved up one spot to No. 13 three weeks ago, then was ranked No. 21 two weeks ago and No. 20 last week. The Panthers reached as high as No. 19 in the poll last season and No. 12 in 2020. Pitt is also ranked ninth on the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee’s Top 10 list.

TOP-TWELVE RPI RATING
The Panthers currently occupy the No. 12 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 four weeks ago, second three weeks ago and then ranking eighth two weeks ago and 10th last week.

A WIN FOR THE RECORD BOOK
Pitt set new program standards for both wins and goals in a single season courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Syracuse on Oct. 20 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.

LAZZ LANDS ALL-TIME WINS RECORD
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

PILING UP POINTS
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 13th in NCAA Division I while their 6.94 points per game rank 18th.

OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT
Pitt has outscored the opposition 43-16 so far in 2022. The Panthers’ 43 goals are a program record and are tied for the 12th-most in NCAA Division I this season. Pitt is tied for 17th in the nation in scoring offense with 2.29 goals per game.

FINDING BALANCE
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. 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 andAshton Gordonhave each found the back of the net once.

HOW MAY WE ASSIST?
Eleven different Panthers have distributed assists this season, with Sarah Schupansky leading the way with seven, which is tied for 40th in the country and ranks fifth among ACC players. Anna Bout ranks second on the team, tied for 61st 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 tied for 18th in the country in total assists with 39 and tied for 25th in the nation in assists per game with 2.17.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
Pitt went 7-1-1 at home in 2022, tying the 2021 squad for most home victories in a single season.

A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
ACC regular season play saw 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.

PANTHERS FINISH NON-CONFERENCE PLAY STRONG
Pitt prevailed in seven of its first eight games for the second year in a row to finish non-conference play strong. The Panthers went a perfect 4-0 at home in non-conference action.

SHUT IT DOWN
The Panthers opened the 2022 season by earning a pair of shutout victories at the Rumble in the Rockies in Missoula, Mont. Pitt blanked Gonzaga, 1-0, in the season opener, then stifled host Montana, 2-0, three days later. The Panthers started a new season with back-to-back shutout victories for the first time since 2017. Pitt has added five more shutouts to its total courtesy of a 6-0 rout of Cleveland State, a 7-0 romp over Kent State, a 2-0 blanking of Cincinnati, a 1-0 win over Louisville and a 2-0 victory over Syracuse. Pitt’s seven shutouts are tied for the second-most in a single season in program history.

ZAILSKI RECOGNIZED AMONG TOP FRESHMEN BY TOPDRAWERSOCCER

Katie Zailski has been named to TopDrawerSoccer’s Freshmen Top 100 list, coming in at No. 26.

A native of Summerville, S.C., Zailski has played in all 15 games for the Panthers this season, making 13 starts. She has registered four points off of two goals, including potting the game winner in a 4-1 victory at Virginia Tech last month. Zailski has been a key part of a back line that has registered six shutouts so far in 2022, which is tied for the third-most in a single season in program history.

SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
Pitt’s first ACC tournament appearance matches it up against a former Big East Conference foe in Notre Dame.

The Panthers had not beaten the Fighting Irish in 16 previous attempts until finally breaking through with the 3-1 win over then-No. T-17-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend in September. Leah Pais scored the first goal of the game for Pitt in the 29th minute. After Notre Dame evened the score on a goal by Ellie Ospeck in the 64th minute, the Panthers scored two goals in just over 10 minutes, with Landy Mertz potting the game winner in the 66th minute and Pitt getting help from Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish scored an own goal in the 77th.

Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum saw unprecedented success in his tenure at the helm of the perennial powerhouse Notre Dame women’s program from 1999-2013. In his 14 seasons, he led the Fighting Irish to two national championships, capturing the College Cup title in 2004 and ’10. His teams won eight Big East Tournament titles and appeared in eight NCAA Final Four games in that span.

Notre Dame is guided by fifth-year head coach Nate Norman and has gone 53-33-5 during his tenure in South Bend. The Fighting Irish were tabbed to finish sixth in the ACC Preseason Coaches Poll.

The Fighting Irish are currently ranked fourth in the United Soccer Coaches Rankings. Notre Dame has gone 6-0-1 since losing to Pitt. Notre Dame closed out the regular season with a 2-2 home draw with Duke on Thursday.

Notre Dame boasts a pair of double-digit goal scorers in Olivia Wingate and Korbin Albert, with Wingate leading the team with 11 goals and Albert right behind her with 10. Wingate is the team’s leading point scorer with 27 as she has also totaled a team-high five assists. Albert is also second on the squad in points (24) and assists (4). Mackenzie Wood has played 12 games in goal, logging 27 saves while allowing five goals.

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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Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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