The Pitt women’s soccer team hosted Syracuse in its ACC opener at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Thursday, and after a slow start, the Panthers scored two second-half goals and kept the Orange off the board for a 2-0 shutout.
After outshooting the Orange 14-3 in the first 45 minutes, the Panthers got on the board on an Emily Yaple goal in the 58th minute. The goal followed an Amanda West shot that ricocheted off the left post. The ball landed at the feet of Yaple, who tapped it past Syracuse goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx as she got back in position after diving to defend West’s shot.
Pitt’s second and final goal of the game came in the 76th minute, when West scored on a penalty kick after getting taken down in the box. The goal was West’s second that came as a result of a penalty kick in two games, as she scored on the rebound of her own penalty kick against Appalachian State on Sunday.
“We felt like, at halftime, if we kept pressing and pushing forward like we did and kept getting numbers in the boxes, something would eventually break our way,” Pitt coach Randy Waldrum said in a postgame interview. “And it was great to see Emily Yaple get her first college goal, which was huge for us because I felt like if we could get one on the board, we could get others to follow. And fortunately, we got the second one in a little bit later on and kind of finished the game out comfortably.”
The victory over Syracuse marked Pitt’s first win in an ACC opener since 2015. It also happened to be the first time the Panthers defeated the Orange since the 2015 season. And with the win, Pitt is off to its strongest start to a season since 2009, as that was the last time the team opened a campaign with three consecutive wins.
Shifting the focus to individual performances, the game saw Yaple score the first goal of her college career. It also saw Pitt goalkeeper Katherine Robinson notch her first solo clean sheet of the season. Meanwhile, West climbed multiple program leaderboards at Pitt.
With her third goal and third assist of the 2020 season, West has accrued nine points. For her career, that puts her at 13 goals, 12 assists and 38 points, which places her among the top 10 producers in each category in program history. West now ranks sixth in career goals, fourth in career assists and seventh in career points at Pitt and is on pace to eventually finish her college career as one of the program's most productive players of all time.
With three wins under their belt, the Panthers will hit the road once more and travel to Annapolis, Maryland. There, Pitt is set to face Navy. The team represents Pitt’s toughest challenge of the 2020 season to date, as Navy is coming off of a 16-3-3 campaign in 2019. Neither Syracuse nor Appalachian State posted a winning record last season. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.