The Pittsburgh Panthers women’s lacrosse team played in their first-ever senior day game on Saturday against Louisville and also earned their first-ever conference victory. Pitt honored 13 seniors and graduate students who make up the historic first graduating class in program history. Despite it being senior day, the program was still searching for their first-ever ACC victory as they entered the game 0-6 in conference play.
”We’ve been fighting for this all year,” said head coach Emily Boissonneault on the team’s first conference win. “And we have gotten really close against other teams so to go out and not just win, but dominate was really important for our mentality.”
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Pitt jumped out to a quick 2-0 start thanks to two goals by graduate student Chloe Jones, her 10th and 11th of the season. Freshman Sydney Naylor scored her fifth goal of the season after Louisville scored their first goal to make it 3-1. A goal by Louisville made it 3-2, but Pitt did regain the two-goal lead in the first when graduating senior Paige Petty continued her incredible season with her 31st goal of the season. Petty also assisted on Naylor’s goal. She’d end up having an incredible senior day.
“Personally I thought I played a lot better and composed,” said Petty. “Kind of a team thing of being better committed to being composed and moving the ball around. Kind of waiting the 30 seconds for when the time is right.”
After Pitt took a 4-2 lead in the first on Petty’s goal, Louisville scored two straight to tie things up. The second, coming with exactly 12.8 seconds left in the period by Paige Richbourg. Pitt almost scored one more goal to end the period, but came up a few seconds short. The two teams went tied into the second at 4-4.
Pitt started the second with a three-goal run to take the lead 7-4 with all three goals coming in the first five minutes of the period. Sophomores Maureen McNierney and Emily Coughlin scored the first two while another senior joined in on the first-ever senior day festivities as Keirin Ratcliff Klaibourne scored her 18th of the season.
Late in the period, Louisville would add two goals to make it 7-6 and put them within striking distance. However, Pitt senior Reilly Reed scored her second of the season to make it 8-4 and that’s where the score sat as the two teams headed into halftime.
It was all Pitt in the third period as they scored all of the period’s four goals. Petty herself had three of them, which brought her game total to four with two assists. Carlie Leach scored the other goal in the period.
Jones scored her third goal of the game just 44 seconds into the fourth quarter. Louisville ended Pitt’s 6-0 run with back-to-back goals in the fourth by Hannah Morris, who now had a hat trick of her own. Kylea Dobson and Nicole Perroni joined Morris with two goals of their own and Pitt’s lead had shrunk to 13-10 in just a three-minute span.
Their 4-0 run would end though when Leach scored with 8:37 left in the game to put the Panthers up 14-10. She’d score again immediately following that one for her third goal of the game, joining Pitt’s Petty and Jones plus Louisville’s Morris with a hat trick in the game.
Petty put the game on ice with her fifth goal of the game. Petty’s 35th goal of the season was also her last in the game as she exited to a cheer shortly thereafter. Kate Elam would score the final goal for Pitt and end the game 17-10.
Louisville did out-shoot Pitt, 29-28. Pitt’s goalkeeper Paulina DiFatti had 14 saves in the win. Despite it being senior day, Pitt has one more home game left against George Mason. As for what the program can accomplish next though, Boissoneault highlighted their match against BIG10 foe and university rival Penn State.
“We play Penn State, so we play our first BIG10 team on Tuesday,” said Boissonneault. “That’s going to be a quick turnaround so, I think, our next challenge is to put up a good fight against Penn State and hopefully come out with a win.”