Sept. 22, 2013
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PITTSBURGH--For 15 minutes, Pitt led the nation's top ranked women's soccer team, but in the end, Makenzy Doniak's two second half goals helped lead No. 1 Virginia to a 3-1 win Sunday over the Panthers at Ambrose Urbanic Field. Pitt is now 4-5-1 overall and 0-4-0 in the ACC, while No. 1 ranked Virginia improves to 9-0-0 and 3-0-0 in the ACC.
Pitt took its 1-0 lead in the 12th minute when senior Dana DelleFemine scored on a breakaway through ball from sophomore Roosa Arvas. Pitt quickly attacked Virginia when Arvas sent a through ball behind the Cavalier's defense. DelleFemine ran onto the ball, made two touches to her left and sent a shot into the lower left portion of the net for her first goal of the year.
"In the early going, we were fortunate to catch them in transition, get a goal and grab the lead," Pitt head coach Greg Miller said. "It was a great moment for us. Once we did get the lead, I thought we sat back a little bit and allowed Virginia to get a little bit more possession and more opportunities as the half wore on. I think we settled down in the second half and created a handful of opportunities in transition. We knew Virginia was going to have a lot of possession."
"All things considered, I think we played well. I thought we had a great game plan put together. A couple of pieces were missing for us, but not altogether bad."
The visiting Cavaliers battled back. Virginia tied the score at 1-1 in the 27th minute when Morgan Brian scored on a shot to the lower left portion of the net following a crossing pass from Danielle Colaprico. The pass rolled across the Pitt goalmouth, past Makenzy Doniak and to an open Brian.
Pitt entered halftime tied 1-1 after giving up 17 shots and nine corner kicks.
Virginia scored the go-ahead goal in the 57th minute on the first of Doniak's two scores. After a rebound shot by Brian following a corner kick, Doniak collected the ball and fired a shot past Pitt goalkeeper Nicole D'Agostino. Five minutes later, Doniak scored her second goal and gave Virginia 3-1 lead when she found herself in the middle of field and fired a scoring strike from 22-yards out. The goal at the 61:34 mark was setup by Kristen McNabb.
Virginia outshot Pitt 37-3, took 13 corner kicks to Pitt's zero and finished with 14 shots on goal. Pitt goalkeeper Nicole D'Agostino tied a career-high with 10 saves. She was kept busy the entire afternoon and made several difficult stops. It was her second consecutive 10-save performance as she also finished with 10 at Clemson on Thursday night.
"Once again Nicole did exactly what she needed to do," Miller said. "She does a great job of keeping us in the game. That's what we count on from her. The back five, six, they dealt with a lot of volume together. Altogether, defensively, we did a nice job."
Over the next two weeks, Pitt plays three of the nation's top-10 ranked teams: No. 1 Virginia, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 7 Notre Dame. Pitt hosts defending national champion and current No. 5 ranked North Carolina (7-1-0) on Thursday, Sept. 26. Kickoff for that match is at 7 p.m. on Pitt Panthers Television and ESPN3.com. Pitt then travels to No. 7 ranked Notre Dame (6-1-0) for a Sunday, Sept. 29 match in South Bend.
"It's the ACC, there's no break," Miller said. "Each team is a little bit different in how they play and how they're coached. We have to prepare for them each differently. We'll spend our time this week concentrating on North Carolina and trying to put together a game plan to give us the best chance. We'll see what happens."
Pitt dropped to 0-4-0 all-time vs. the nation's No. 1 ranked team in women's soccer. In addition, Pitt was hosting the nation's No. 1 ranked team for the first time in school history.