Pitt women’s soccer played a solid match in their first ever appearance in the ACC Semifinals against the No. 1 team in the country, Florida State, but still fell short 2-0 Thursday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Panthers (14-5-1) (W-L-D) lose for the second time this season against the Seminoles (15-0-1), as they fell in a 3-2 defeat two weeks ago in Tallahassee on Oct. 19. The Seminoles hold the all-time series with a perfect 13-0-0 record, including four matches in the past two seasons, including a 3-0 win against the Panthers in the Sweet 16 in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Not much occurred in the first 15 minutes of the match, with both teams trying to figure out their attacking game plan.
Florida State senior midfielder and ACC Offensive Player of the Year Onyi Echegini had the first real chance in the 19th minute, as she put in a powerful, dipping shot that would hit the crossbar.
Echegini had another opportunity to score in the 24th minute, thanks to a great through ball from first-year midfielder/forward Mimi Van Zanten, to her in the box. She would take a shot right on goal, but Pitt sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Breech made a great stop, putting her right glove up to push the shot out for a corner.
The best chance for the Seminoles saw junior midfielder Taylor Huff put in a beautiful through ball to first-year forward Jordynn Dudley in the box. Dudley ran onto the ball, but put her shot just wide of the right post.
Pitt had two great chances to score in the second half that would’ve given them the lead over Florida State.
Fifth year forward Landy Mertz put in a great cross to the back post for fellow fifth year forward Amanda West, but she couldn’t get a foot onto the cross, despite no defender anywhere near her in the 49th minute.
Junior midfielder Ellie Coffield struck a free kick just outside the box with tremendous power and it hit the left post, just inches from going into the goal in the 60th minute.
The Seminoles would take advantage of those misses, taking the lead just 10 minutes later.
Senior forward Leilanni Nesbith passes it from the halfway line to find fellow senior forward Jody Brown running down the right wing. Brown then crossed it into the box and found Dudley, who headed it at the right post into the net in the 70th minute
𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗔𝗖𝗖 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗦𝗛𝗠𝗔𝗡 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗦 𝗧𝗛𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛 𝗜𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗦𝗘𝗠𝗜𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗔𝗟!
THIS HEADER. 🤯🤯🤯
🚨 NOLES TAKE THE LEAD 🚨 pic.twitter.com/EWOYKwTmdg
— The ACC (@theACC) November 3, 2023
Florida State scored again just five minutes later, which would seal the Pitt defeat. Huff took a corner and put in a great ball to find senior forward Beata Olsson, who got in front of Breech and put her header in for the goal.
— The ACC (@theACC) November 3, 2023
Pitt would improve their attack over the final 15 minutes with some good opportunities to make a comeback, but none finished in a score, leading to the loss.
Florida State head coach Brian Pensky gave credit to Pitt for putting up a great fight, as well as to his team for fending off a great opponent.
“Very thankful and grateful that that has been the case,” Pensky said on Florida State’s success over Pitt. “Even in the Sweet 16 last year, the score was 3-0, but that score did not indicate the kind of game it was…I think our possession has been good. I think in those three games, we have only given up the two goals, both of those were on set pieces a couple weeks ago. We shut them out both games a year ago. So we’ve defended them really well and that’s something to be proud of because we talked about coming into this game, that’s a very good team. They have a very good front five players that are really, really dangerous and they’ve scored a lot of goals this season. So I think the consistent thing in those four games we’ve defended at a really high level and along the line, we’ve found ways to score goals.”
Pitt will wait for the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Monday, Nov. 6, where they will find out their seeding and their next opponents for the second ever postseason appearance.