The No. 19 Pitt women’s soccer team traveled to South Carolina to take on Clemson at Riggs Field on Thursday night, and despite entering the matchup as the stronger team on paper, the Panthers were handed a 2-0 loss.
Early on, the matchup was fairly even, with neither team able to get much going offensively. However, as the game wore on, the breaks seemed to go Clemson’s way, and the hosts were able to get on the board in the 18th minute, when Tigers defender Makenna Morris tapped a ball in to Tigers midfielder Hal Hershfelt, which she redirected low and to the right of Panthers goalkeeper Katherine Robinson to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
Pitt would close out the first half with just three shots and one on goal, and perhaps the only bright spot was that one of the team’s top goal-scorers, Amanda West, returned. However, she would be limited in her first game back, playing 71 minutes of a possible 90 and coming out early in the first half. And all told, the Panthers entered the halftime break down one goal.
The second half would follow a similar script, as it got off to a slow start and scoring opportunities were again limited for Pitt. And once again, it was Clemson that struck first. This time, it was Tigers midfielder Megan Bornkamp, who converted on a penalty kick in the 78th minute to put Clemson up 2-0. The chance was created by Tigers forward Maliah Morris, who drew a foul in the box. And the last few minutes would tick away without a response from the Panthers.
With the loss, Pitt drops to 7-2 on the season and 0-1 in ACC play, and the team could fall out of the national rankings, given its precarious placement toward the bottom of the top 25. As for Clemson, it improves to 6-2 and 1-0 in conference and could break into the top 25 as a team that received votes earlier this week.
The Panthers’ path will not get much easier from this point on, as the next opponent the team is set to face is No. 1 Florida State, a team that is currently 7-0. That matchup will take place at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee next Thursday. The Panthers and Tigers are set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET.