Well. 19 Women’s Soccer’s Season Ends in Sweet Sixteen Loss at No. 5 Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 19-ranked Pitt Women’s soccer team (14-5-3) saw its historic season come to an end with a 3-0 setback to No. 5-ranked Florida State (16-2-3) in the 2022 NCAA Championship Third Round Sunday at the Seminole Soccer Complex.

“I think we’re all walking out with our heads held high,” head Coach Randy Waldrum said. “We lost to a great team. We knew what we were getting into, and they were fantastic. It would’ve taken us to be very good again, like we were at home, and it would’ve taken them to have a little bit of an off night for the result to have gone a little bit different. I’m just proud of the effort and the performance that we put in.”

The Panthers wrapped up a year in which they set program records for most wins (14), ACC wins (5), home wins (8), points (138) and goals (47) in a single season. Pitt posted road wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame during the regular season, beating both for the first time in program history. The Panthers qualified for both the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship fields for the first time.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but to make it this far is something nobody can ever take away from us,” sophomore Sarah Schupansky said. “I’m very fortunate that this isn’t my last season with this program, and I’m very excited to be able to try to go even further next year with the team that the coaching staff has created. The coaching staff talked about at the end of the game how we didn’t stop fighting, even until the last whistle. I think no matter what the score would’ve been; they could’ve been up by 10 goals, the game could have been 90 minutes longer than it was, and I don’t think we ever would have stopped. There’s nothing we wanted more than to move on. But Florida State’s a great program, a great team, very skillful, and we fell, but we fell to a great team. Our time is done this season, but our time as a program for sure isn’t finished.”

Florida State, the No. 1 overall seed and reigning NCAA champions, got off to a quick start, taking a 1-0 lead 77 seconds into the game on a Breakaway goal by Beata Olsson that Jody Brown and Onyi Echegini Assisted on.

The No. 4-seeded Panthers seemed to settle in after the quick goal by the Seminoles, keeping Florida State off the scoreboard for the final 43 minutes of the first half. Pitt had a few chances to score in the opening 45 minutes of play. A shot by Schupansky in the 16th minute missed high. The best chance for the Panthers came in the 20th minute when a header attempt by Samiah Phiri hit the top of the woodwork.

The Seminoles scored quickly again to start the second half, this time on an unassisted goal by Leilanni Nesbeth in the 47th minute. Florida State tallied its third and final goal 10 minutes later when Brown scored off another assist by Echegini.

Florida State finished the game with decisive advantages in shots (18-7) and shots on goal (10-2). Six Seminoles tallied multiple shots, with Jenna Nighswonger totaling a game-high four. Olivia Garcia put a game-high three shots on goal.

Phiri and Ellie Coffield tied for the team lead in shots with two apiece for Pitt.

Making her first career start in goal in place of an injured Caitlyn Lazzarinifreshman Ellie Breech played all 90 minutes for the Panthers and collected a career-high seven saves.

Cristina Roque made two saves in the win for Florida State.

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