Men’s soccer secures No. 5 seed in NCAA tournament


Patrick Cavanagh | Staff Photographer

Filip Mirkovic (21) kicks the ball during the men’s soccer game vs. Notre Dame last Wednesday at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

By Chris Cornejo, Staff Writer

Pitt men’s soccer earned the No. 5 overall seed and a first-round bye in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. This is the second consecutive year where the Panthers have had a first-round bye. The Panthers will play the winner of the opening round matchup between Oakland University and Northern Illinois. After that, a familiar rival looms on the horizon. If Penn State beats the victor of Hofstra and Lipscomb, and Pitt comes out on top in its second-round matchup, then the two in-state rivals would meet in the following round. 

Pitt earned its second consecutive ACC Coastal Division title this season and numerous Panthers earned yearly honors from the ACC. Graduate student defensive back Jasper Löeffelsend won ACC Defensive Player of the year and earned a spot on the first All-ACC team. Pitt players also received nominations for the second, third and freshman teams as well. 

After a difficult 2-1 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship quarterfinals, Pitt looked like a heavy favorite to win the conference crown. However, the team’s celebration was short-lived, as Notre Dame snapped their 19-game unbeaten streak at home in a 2-0 loss to the Fighting Irish last Wednesday.

The Panthers were ranked No. 2 overall last year going into the tournament. They reached the semi-final round before falling 1-0 to Indiana.

Their recent loss to Notre Dame in the ACC Championship quarterfinals will surely be on their mind as they approach this tournament, especially considering the Fighting Irish have earned the No. 4 seed. If both teams win out in the respective groups, there is a possibility they will meet in the national semifinals. 

The Panthers will host the winner of Northern Illinois and Oakland in the second round of the tournament on Sunday. The location and details of the match aren’t yet available.