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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Filip Mirkovic makes history as No. 17 Pitt men’s soccer dominates FDU 5-1

Sophomore+Defender+Jackson+Gilman+%282%29+fights+for+the+ball+during+Monday+night%E2%80%99s+match+against+FDU.
Kaylee Uribe | Staff Photographer
Sophomore Defender Jackson Gilman (2) fights for the ball during Monday night’s match against FDU.

After defeating No. 20 Wake Forest and then drawing Boston College, No. 17 Pitt men’s soccer (3-2-2, 1-0-1 ACC) built on their momentum with 5-1 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson (3-2-2, 0-0 NEC).

Two Panthers, in particular, had strong showings — senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic and junior forward Luis Sahmkow.

Mirkovic’s elite playmaking elevated the team, as he recorded four assists on the night. Mirkovic’s fourth assist marked the 25th of his career, making him second all-time in Pitt history. The senior midfielder’s four assists in a match also set the single-game Pitt record.

Sahmkow exploded offensively with his first career hat trick. With the three-goal night, Sahmkow took the team lead for points and goals on the season with 10 and five goals, respectively.

“[It] feels good,” Sahmkow said about his performance on Monday night. “I mean, I definitely know I can play at this level. This is going to be a big year for me. But like I said, it’s a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without the guys putting the ball in the box.”

Mirkovic assisted all three of Sahmkow’s goals on the night. The senior midfielder said he enjoys playing alongside Sahmkow, especially when they are both performing well.

“We got the little duo going on,” Mirkovic said. “I find him, he finds me back, we have a little combination going on. We’re very dangerous together.”

Overall, Pitt’s offense shined, scoring five goals on a Knight’s defense that shut out their last three opponents. 

“The first goal is important because Luis was able to get the PK,” head coach Jay Vidovich said. “But then the other two goals and the entire team’s response I thought was really fantastic.”

The Panthers set the tone early, earning the first scoring chance of the day with a free kick.  Sahmkow fired a dangerous shot on goal, which the FDU defense easily thwarted.

After a handball from Fairleigh Dickinson senior forward Jayd Hamdaoua, the Panthers earned a penalty shot. The Panthers capitalized on the crucial opportunity, as Sahmkow buried the shot past graduate student goalkeeper Spencer King.

Sahmkow just missed his second shot of the night only three minutes later, as Knight saved the shot from inches away before he and Sahmkow collided.

In the 19th minute, Pitt’s junior midfielder Luka Kozomara rang a shot off the post. Junior forward Abdoulaye Toure collected the rebound and fired a rocket wide of the net. 

In the 24th minute, Pitt continued to knock on FDU’s door. Kozomara got his head on a perfect cross, but King thwarted yet another Pitt opportunity.

King continued his elite play as Pitt’s offensive onslaught continued. He made a fantastic diving save on a Mirkovic free kick. King followed with an equally impressive stop on another Kozomara header.

While only leading by one goal, the Panthers dominated Fairleigh Dickenson in all aspects of the match, holding FDU without a shot until the 39th minute. Through a constant barrage of steals and high-danger passes, Pitt refused to give Fairleigh Dickenson any breathing room.

Pitt seemed to only struggle with finishing chances. With eleven shots in the first half and only four on goal, the Panthers needed their efforts to show on the score sheet.

This came back to bite the Panthers, as FDU soon leveled the score at one. Pitt sophomore goalkeeper Cabral Carter never stood a chance as the Knights played their first scoring chance perfectly. The play began with sophomore forward Matt Giraldo sending a well-placed pass to senior forward Tony Gomez. The senior forward redirected the ball into the net with a highlight-reel header. 

In the closing minutes of the first half, it appeared as if Pitt’s efforts meant nothing. Despite Pitt showing its offensive prowess – generating over three times as many shots — the scoreboard reflected a perfectly even match.

But with just a second left in the half, the Panther regained a 2-1 lead on a textbook corner kick. Star midfielder Mirkovic passed the ball to Sahmkow, who buried it.

Pitt started the second half reinvigorated after reclaiming the lead, playing with overwhelming speed and confidence.

In the 48th Minute, Sahmkow added to the Panthers lead with his second goal of the night. Mirkovic set Sahmkow up, allowing the junior forward to send a missile to the top left corner that King appeared to never see. The Panthers now led 3-1.

Only three minutes later, the Mirkovic to Sahmkow connection struck again. In the 52nd minute, Mirkovic sent a through ball for Sahmkow, which he fired home, as the Panthers took a commanding 4-1 lead. 

The goal completed a hat trick for Sahmkow as the few but passionate Panther faithfuls in the crowd erupted in support.

Starting out slow with zero points in the first three games, Sahmkow has regained form with seven assists in the last three contests. Mirkovic’s play remains crucial to the team. As one of two seniors on the roster and the only returning All-ACC player, the young Panthers will continue to rely on their star

After some back-and-forth play, Pitt increased the lead to four in the 71st minute as Toure scored his second goal of the season. Mikrovic earned a secondary assist on the goal, setting the single-game record for assists.

Pitt will take the field again on Friday at No. 7 Syracuse. Coverage will air at 7 p.m. on ACCNX. 

About the Contributor
Alex Porter, Staff Writer