The Pitt and NC State women’s soccer teams squared off at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Saturday night, and the Panthers got the best of the Wolf Pack in a 2-1 victory. The win was Pitt’s second in ACC play this month, as the team also beat Boston College 2-1 on Oct. 10. Prior to that win, the Panthers had gone three years without a conference victory.
Pitt midfielder Celia Lopez opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a follow-up header after a shot by Krystyna Rytel ricocheted off the crossbar. Nine minutes later, Pitt defender Vildan Kardesler knocked in a shot from 18 yards out after a free kick by Kate McKay was tipped into the air and fell in her vicinity.
Despite outshooting Pitt 25-5 and putting 12 shots on target to Pitt’s two, NC State only managed to record one goal. That came late in the first half, as NC State forward Leyah Hall-Robinson headed in a corner kick from NC State defender Lulu Guttenberger in the 41st minute. However, that would be the last goal by either team, and Pitt would go on to win 2-1.
”Really, really big win for us tonight,” Pitt head coach Randy Waldrum said after the game. “It’s a big benchmark of how far we’ve come. We went to NC State last year and lost 6-0. ... To grind out a win like this against a really good NC State team — I’ve got a lot of respect for them — it just means tons for our program.”
Pitt goalkeeper Amaia Peña was vital to the team’s success, as she came up with a career-high 11 saves and was one short of a clean sheet. She also performed especially well in the second half, as nine of her saves came in the final 45 minutes.
With the win, Pitt improves to 5-7-3 overall and 2-3-2 in conference. That places the Panthers at ninth in the ACC standings, meaning an ACC tournament berth is within reach, as the top eight teams in the conference qualify.
Pitt will have a chance to extend its successful run on Thursday, when the team travels to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to face a Wake Forest squad that has yet to log a win in ACC play this season. Kickoff from W. Dennie Spry Soccer Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET.