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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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President Joe Biden speaks on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19 to tout his administration’s investment in infrastructure.
President Biden set to visit Pittsburgh this afternoon
By Brian Sherry, Contributing Editor • 1:05 pm
Satire | A better use for editorial space
By Anna Ehlers, Contributing Editor • 1:06 am

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President Joe Biden speaks on Friday at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19 to tout his administration’s investment in infrastructure.
President Biden set to visit Pittsburgh this afternoon
By Brian Sherry, Contributing Editor • 1:05 pm
Satire | A better use for editorial space
By Anna Ehlers, Contributing Editor • 1:06 am

Filip Mirkovic’s historic night helps No. 20 Pitt men’s soccer defeat Virginia Tech 3-1

Junior+Midfielder+Guilherme+Feitosa+%2810%29+dibbles+the+ball+during+Friday+nights+game+against+Virginia+Tech+at+the+Petersen+Sports+Complex.
Colleen Nguyen | Senior Staff Photographer
Junior Midfielder Guilherme Feitosa (10) dibbles the ball during Friday night’s game against Virginia Tech at the Petersen Sports Complex.

No. 20 Pitt men’s soccer (5-3-3, 2-1-2 ACC) entered the night in search of their second ACC win against Virginia Tech (3-4-3, 2-2-1 ACC). After a lackluster start, No. 20 Pitt men’s soccer defeated the Hokies 3-1, fueled by career highs and broken records.

Senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic set the all-time school record for assists with the 27th of his career. The assist and goal from sophomore defender Jackson Gilman proved crucial, igniting the offense 

Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich emphasized Mirkovic’s importance to the team.

“[Mirkovic] has been a major contributor and a major factor since his freshman year,” Vidovich said. “He’s played and he’s been what the media people like to say as the metronome of our team set and everything. He’s always played fantastic, especially when we need him on nights like tonight”.

Mirkovic said he was happy to help his team get the win with the record-breaking assist.

“I couldn’t ask for more,” Mirkovic said. “You know, we really fought to the end. I had the great opportunity from a corner set piece. Great header, great goal. I’m very happy right now. I have no words right now.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Cabral Carter also shined. He recorded eight saves, for a career-high performance. Vidovich said he was more than pleased with Carter’s performance

“He’s just showing he’s one of the best keepers in the ACC and the country,” Vidovich said. “I think he handles his position is great. He had one big-time kick save that was a game changer, we don’t win without it.”

Junior Forward Luis Sahmkow (17) passes the ball during Friday night’s game against Virginia Tech at the Petersen Sports Complex. (Colleen Nguyen | Staff Photographer)

The match started with a series of careless possessions, as the Panthers and Hokies exchanged giveaways to start the match. The teams played physically from the start, as both sides recorded their first fouls before their first shot.

It only took six minutes until the first booking. Virginia Tech sophomore defender Grant Howard earned a yellow card for his foul on PItt’s senior midfielder Felipe Mercado.

In the 12th minute, Pitt took its first shot of the game. The Panthers’ perfect passing set up junior forward Abdoulaye Toure, who found himself alone with Virginia Tech’s junior goalkeeper Timi Adams. Toure failed to capitalize, sending the ball far above the net.

The Hokies responded with the next three shots of the game. Coming off his fourth career clean sheet, sophomore goalkeeper Carter responded with three consecutive saves.

But Virginia Tech’s mounting pressure became too much for Carter, as the Hokies earned the match’s first goal in the 23rd minute.  First-year forward Declan Quil gained speed up the wing, setting up senior midfielder Mayo Kinyua, who sent a rocket past Carter.

In the 26th minute, Pitt’s Mercado went down with an injury, forcing him out of the game. Junior forward midfielder Micheal Sullivan entered the game in his place.

Pitt responded to the injury with an offensive push of their own. But despite Pitt’s best efforts, Virginia Tech impressively blocked each of the Panther’s shots — even intercepting their corner.

The Hokies received their second-half yellow card in the 29th minute, as first-year defender Noe Uwimana sloppily attempted to slow the Panthers.

In the 30th minute, sophomore defender Noah Hall needed help off the pitch, as injuries continued to plague the Panthers. Sophomore defender Raphael Cili replaced Hall for the remainder of the match.

Pitt seemed out of sync all half, missing crosses and mistiming runs. Even Mirkovic’s timing appeared off, as he failed to hit routine passes for players of his caliber.

In an attempt to find an offensive spark, Pitt head coach Vidovich subbed off junior forwards Abdoulaye Toure and Luis Sahmkow, the team’s leading goal scorer. First-year forwards Santiago Ferreira and Massimo Murania entered their places.

The half became a story of fouls and injuries. Pitt recorded 11 fouls on the half — already surpassing their season high of ten. The defensive-minded Hokies’ game plan worked to perfection in the first half. Out of Pitt’s five shots, none were on goal.

After struggling to create much offense in the first half, Pitt opened the half with a shot in the 48th minute.

Virginia Tech continued their intense play style, as first-year forward Marcos Escoe received a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct. The fouls continued to add up, as the teams combined for five fouls in the first five minutes of the half.

After coming back in for Murania, Sahmkow received Pitt’s best chance of the night. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Sahmkow failed to settle the ball, as he shot directly at Adams.

Just a few minutes later, in the 59th minute, Virginia Tech failed to convert on an even better opportunity. Hokie Senior forward Connor Pugh broke loose a few yards behind the last Panther defender. Carter cut down the angle, making a great save to keep the Panthers within a goal

In the 63rd minute, the Panther’s offense showed some signs of life, as Sahmkow directed two headers wide of the night.

Carter recorded his sixth save of the night in the 67th minute off a shot by Virginia Tech’s Escoe from outside of the box.

Soon after, the Hokies earned yet another yellow card, as sophomore forward Andy Sullins received a booking.

Throughout the half Vidovich continued making substitutions, searching for anything to revive the Pitt offense.

The Hokies played well defensively, forcing the Panthers into bad decisions and poor shots. Nonetheless, the Panthers dominated possession. 

The Panthers leveled the score in the 78th minute, when Mirkovic made a beautiful cross to sophomore defender Jackson Gilman, who buried a header for a Pitt goal.

Mirkovic’s assist marked the 27th of his career, which allowed him to take ownership of Pitt’s all-time assist record. The record-breaking moment also became the spark the Panthers needed.

After trailing for 77 minutes, Pitt took the lead in the 81st minute with a goal from Cili to make the score 2-1. Toure and junior midfielder Guilherme Feitosa earned assists, setting up the golden opportunities.

The Pitt offense continued the onslaught, as Feitosa scored an impressive goal to add to the  Panthers’ 3-1 lead.

Mirkovic and the Panthers hope to build off the win and gain some much needed momentum in conference play.

“It’s massive for us. We really needed this win,” Mikrovic said. “This is gonna give us a lot of confidence, a lot of motivation coming into the next game now we go away to Virginia. They’re going to be a little nervous after this if they watch these games, they’re going to be nervous about how we play and how we are going to come after them now so it’s good. It’s really positive. I’m really happy for the team.”

Pitt will hit the road next to take on Virginia on Oct. 13 in Charlottesville. Coverage will air at 7 p.m. on ACCNX.

About the Contributor
Alex Porter, Staff Writer