Coming off a thrilling 2-1 win over Boston College on Thursday, the Pitt women’s soccer team hosted North Carolina, the No. 3 team in the country, for an ACC tilt at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Sunday afternoon. But despite the excitement surrounding the team heading into the game, the Panthers were unable to steal a win from the Tar Heels and instead fell 3-1.
Pitt defender Vildan Kardesler opened up the scoring in the 12th minute, which was remarkable in its own right, as no other team had scored on North Carolina in ACC play this season. Kardesler’s goal was facilitated by Pitt forward Amanda West, who sent a cross into the box that Kardesler converted for her first goal of the year.
The Panthers would take the 1-0 lead into halftime, thanks in large part to Pitt goalkeeper Amaia Peña, who came up with six saves in the first half. However, the second half would belong to the Tar Heels.
North Carolina midfielder Brianna Pinto put the Tar Heels on the board in the 49th minute, when she put away a cross from North Carolina defender Lotte Wubben-Moy. In the 56th minute, North Carolina midfielder Taylor Otto gave her team the lead, and 20 minutes later, North Carolina forward Rachael Dorwart put the Tar Heels up 3-1. The three goals from North Carolina would go unanswered.
”I’m really, really proud of them,” Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum said after the game. “To come out and play a team like North Carolina, with their history, to a 3-1 game [is an accomplishment]. Today, we created some chances and had some bouts where we couldn’t keep the ball a little bit. I think we saw a group of really young players grow up. So I’m really proud of where we are.”
As Waldrum noted, possession was an issue for Pitt, and it resulted in North Carolina getting the bulk of the offensive opportunities on Sunday. When all was said and done, the Tar Heels had outshot Pitt 28-3. But there was a silver lining in terms of individual achievement.
West continued her march toward program history by recording an assist. That gave her 24 points on the season, putting her in sole possession of second place on the all-time leaderboard for points in a season at Pitt. However, first place still belongs to Cande Ruiz, who amassed 26 points in 1998. West currently has eight goals and eight assists in her freshman season.
With the loss, Pitt falls to 4-7-3 on the year and 1-3-2 in conference, and North Carolina improves to 12-1-1 and 5-0-1 in the ACC. Up next for Pitt is NC State, a team firmly in the middle of the pack in the ACC that will visit Ambrose Urbanic Field on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.