Andrew Joseph is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Pitt scores twice late, ends Arkansas' season and long streak
Pittsburgh's Ellie Coffield (4) celebrates a game-winning goal with teammates during an NCAA Tournament game against Arkansas on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in Fayetteville. (Photo by Patrick Meredith/Arkansas Athletics)
FAYETTEVILLE — The second-seeded Arkansas soccer program suffered a stunning 4-3 loss to seventh-seeded Pittsburgh on Friday night at Razorback Field.
Pitt midfielder Ellie Coffield scored twice in the final 14 minutes, including the game winner with 85 seconds remaining. The Panthers (16-5-1) advanced to play Memphis in the Sweet 16 on Sunday in Fayetteville.
Sixth-seeded Memphis defeated third-seeded Notre Dame 3-2 in the day's earlier match.
The loss snapped a run of two consecutive Elite Eight appearances and a 32-game home unbeaten streak for the Razorbacks (15-5-2). It was Arkansas’ first loss at home since February 2021 against Saint Louis and first ever home loss in 11 postseason games.
The Razorbacks had allowed multiple scores in two games before Friday, both against ACC teams. They had never conceded more than three goals.
“It was not our best defensive performance,” Arkansas coach Colby Hale said. “[Up] 3-2 late, you should be able to finish that out.”
Coffield scored off a direct free kick attempt from 19 yards away in the 77th minute to tie the game 3-3.
She secured the upset with a header off a corner kick in the 89th minute. She has scored eight goals for the Panthers this season.
Pitt took an early 1-0 lead on a quick counterattack, catching the Razorback defense napping in the 18th minute. Two minutes later, Arkansas equalized on a header from freshman forward Bella Field.
Field nodded a pinpoint cross to the back post for her fourth goal in two tournament games. Field scored twice in the regular season.
The Razorbacks took a 2-1 lead on a long strike from Ainsley Erzen in the 33rd minute. Arkansas was unable to hold the lead into halftime, though, and conceded another counter with three minutes to go.
“I didn’t think we won [in] transition,” Hale said. “For whatever reason, we looked a step slow tonight. That’s on me.”
Arkansas’ second lead of the match came in the 69th minute in familiar fashion. Senior midfielder Bea Franklin connected on a header off a corner kick to go ahead 3-2.
Franklin scored a career-high nine goals for the Razorbacks this year. Eleven of her 15 career goals with Arkansas have been headers.
Pittsburgh out-shot Arkansas 23-16 and held a 13-6 advantage in shots on target.
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