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Pitt women’s soccer defeats NC State 2-1

With the win, the Panthers secured their highest win total since 2015

Matt Hawley

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.