Pitt men’s soccer handles Cleveland State 2-1, set to take on Akron in second round

By Dalton Coppola, Sports Editor

Pitt men’s soccer advanced to the second round of the NCAA National Tournament on Thursday night, taking down Cleveland State 2-1. While the Vikings scored just one goal against graduate student goalkeeper Joe van der Sar, the Pitt defense prevented the Vikings from having many solid opportunities. Junior forward Bertin Jacquesson found the back of the net twice, putting the Panthers into the second round.

The Panthers hosted the Vikings in the first round of the tournament at Ambrose Urbanic Field. With the win, Pitt moves on to the second round and will face the Akron Zips.

Jacquesson’s two goals brings his season total to seven, tying him with senior forward Valentin Noel for most on the team. His two scores — in the 27th and 76th minutes — made the difference in the match against the Vikings.

Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

The Vikings mustered just three shots on goal, making it a worry-free night for the Pitt goalkeeper. Meanwhile, the Pitt offense put the pressure on Cleveland State, taking seven shots on net.

Pitt is looking for its first-ever National Championship in men’s soccer after falling short last year. The Panthers lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the quarterfinals in 2021. However, they did reach the College Cup and lost in the semifinals to Indiana in the shortened COVID-19 season.

Head coach Jay Vidovich has experience in the NCAA Tournament, leading the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to 13 tournament appearances from 2000 to 2014. He and the Demon Deacons won the 2007 NCAA Championship. Since coming to Pitt, Vidovich has lifted the program to new heights, earning him Coach of the Year honors in 2020 and 2021.

Vidovich and the Panthers have their work cut out for them though, facing the No. 16 Akron Zips next. The NCAA has not released a date or time for the Panthers’ next match.

Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer