The Eagles fell 3-0 to Pittsburgh on the road on a rainy Thursday night where lightning delays were the least of BC’s concerns. Panthers star forward Amanda West scored a brace, while Emily Yaple capped off the scoring with a spectacular bicycle kick goal. The loss dropped the team back below .500 and was the fifth time the Eagles have been shut out this season.
The first of West’s two goals came in the 59th minute thanks to a penalty kick she earned. The Eagles’ defense struggled to keep up with the Panthers, who found plenty of space on the wings. Pitt drove the play forward and overwhelmed a disjointed Eagles’ defense. West in particular enjoyed space on the wing, dominating a matchup with Mia Karras throughout the match.
Early in the second, West once again received the ball on the left side of the box, dribbling in and cutting the ball back as Karras stepped up to defend. Yet, as Karras stepped forward for the ball, her foot tripped up West, sending her sprawling in the 18-yard box and earning the Panthers a penalty kick.
West stepped up to the spot, carefully counting out her steps and waiting for the whistle to blow. On a long lead up, she fired a low, right-footed strike just inside the left post, out of the reach of a diving Willebrandt, who had correctly guessed the corner West was aiming for.
Seconds after West converted her penalty kick to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead, the game would stop for a weather delay. Driving rain had been falling since the start of the second half, but lightning forced the players off the field for what would become a fifty-minute delay.
The break gave the Eagles a chance to adjust tactics and mentally recover from the emotional letdown of conceding a penalty kick goal early in the second half. With thirty minutes left, there was plenty of time to mount and sustain a comeback—with the Eagles having nearly an hour to plan precisely how to execute their updated game plan.
As the clock resumed, the Eagles seemed like a different team. They pressured Pitt and created chances in the final third. Ella Richards nearly scored on an individual effort in the 68th minute, dribbling between the defense to create space before sending a shot towards the goal. Richards’ final attempt didn’t have much on it, making it an easy save for Panther keeper Katherine Robinson.
It was the Panthers and West who would score the next goal in the 74th minute, sucking the life out of the Eagles. Landy Mertz found space on the right side of the field and sent a cross into the box, where a sliding West poked the ball into the back of the net. Congestion in front of the net and a lack of Eagles’ pressure contributed to the goal.
Emily Yaple scored the dagger with a beautifully acrobatic bicycle kick goal off a Panthers corner kick in the 86th minute. Willebrandt cleared the initial attempt, punching the ball out to the top of the box where a Panthers player took a swing, but only managed to chop the ball back into the box by a couple of yards. Yaple back turned towards the goal, managing to kick the ball over her head and into the top right corner of the net. Willebrandt got a hand on the ball but was unable to stop it from hitting the back netting and making it 3-0 Panthers.
The Eagles, coming off their first ACC win, looked disjointed in the first half and for most of the second, regularly out of step on passes and missing players on overlapping runs. Tentative on the ball, the team struggled with decisions in the final third, losing valuable time and taking too many touches on the ball, allowing the Pitt defense to reset.
The Eagles (7-8-1) finish up a three-game road stretch at Virginia Tech on Sunday, October 24 at noon. The team hopes to regain their .500-win percentage and regroup after a frustrating loss where the entire team seemed as disjointed as the run of play was with two different weather delays.
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