Women’s Soccer falls in opener vs. Pitt in 2OT

Edward Major II | Staff Photographer | Duquesne senior Delaney Reiff goes to strike the ball during Duquesne’s match against Pitt on Sunday.
Edward Major II | Staff Photographer | Duquesne senior Delaney Reiff goes to strike the ball during Duquesne’s match against Pitt on Sunday.

Adam Lindner | Sports Editor

Duquesne’s women’s soccer team opened the school’s 2017-18 athletic campaign – effectively ushering in the school’s Nike era – with a 1-0 loss to crosstown rival Pitt on Aug. 20.

Panthers freshman Vildan Kardesler beat Duquesne goalie Kyra Murphy in the 101st minute of action to hand the Dukes their first loss of the year. Pitt moved to 2-0-0 on the season, already matching their win total from all of last year.

Though Duquesne ultimately lost in its first match of the season, the effort that the Dukes displayed was encouraging.

A major bright spot for the team was the play of junior goaltender Kyra Murphy. Pitt registered nine shots on goal, and Murphy’s impressive play kept the Panthers off of the scoreboard early on in the match.

In the 29th minute, Murphy made a key save on Pitt forward Taylor Pryce’s point-blank shot to keep the score tied at zero.

With 17 minutes remaining in the first half, Pryce nearly put the Panthers up once again when her header rang off of the crossbar.

During the second half, Duquesne spent more time in possession, effectively stymieing Pitt’s offensive attack. In the first 45 minutes of action, Pitt managed to register nine total shot attempts to Duquesne’s three. In the second half, both teams registered an even five attempted shots.

Six of Murphy’s eight saves came in the first 45 minutes.

A back-and-forth second half saw both teams create quality scoring chances. The closest that Duquesne came to breaking the scoreless tie was on Katie O’Connor’s shot with 13 minutes left to go in regulation, which narrowly missed the net, just to the left.

Following 90 minutes of scoreless play, the game continued into sudden-death overtime. It would take two overtime periods until Vildan Kardesler netted her first collegiate goal in the 101st minute of action from 20-yards out. The Steinfurt, Germany native’s goal gave Pitt their second win on the year.

Duquesne coach Al Alvine expressed his disappointment with the match’s outcome postgame.

“I thought after a poor first half from us, we came into our own in the second half,” Alvine said. “We played well and created some really good chances in both halves, so disappointed that we weren’t able to score.

“As far as first games go, [we saw] some good things, some things we can build on. Obviously, some things that we need to work on, but we’ll put this behind us and work toward next weekend.”

The women’s soccer team will face Oakland on Aug. 25 in their next game. The Golden Grizzlies are 0-2-0 on the year following a 5-1 loss versus Bowling Green and a 3-1 loss at Western Michigan. The match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Rooney Field.

Following the Dukes’ Friday evening game, the team will travel to take on national powerhouse West Virginia on Aug. 27 in a 5:00 p.m. match. Ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Mountaineers opened their season with a 1-0 win at Georgetown on Aug. 18. They face Virginia on Aug. 24 before their Aug. 27 match vs. Duquesne.

The match against the nation’s top team will serve as an early barometer for how successful the Dukes may be this season.