The Pitt men’s soccer team faced Virginia, the No. 1 team in the nation, at Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville on Friday night and pulled off an upset for the ages with a 2-0 victory. The win derailed a 12-game unbeaten streak for the Cavaliers and gave the Panthers their second win over a ranked ACC foe in three games.
The first goal of the game came from Pitt midfielder Braden Kline, a senior who had transferred from Providence after the 2018 season and had just two goals in his collegiate career entering the game. Pitt midfielder Valentin Noel sent a well-placed pass into the box, and Kline drove it into the back of the net with a sliding one-timer in the 21st minute.
That goal gave Pitt a 1-0 lead that it would carry into halftime, and in the second half, the team doubled its advantage. Kline was once again involved, as he shot a pass into the box from midfield that reached Pitt forward Edward Kizza. Kizza then turned and found Pitt midfielder Veljko Petkovic, who slid a shot past Virginia goalkeeper Colin Shutler to put Pitt up 2-0. The goal would go unanswered.
”What a great win on the road over the No. 1 team in the country,” Pitt head coach Jay Vidovich said after the game. “I’m proud of our guys' effort and execution.”
Although Virginia got off nearly three times as many shots as Pitt, with 14 to the visitors’ five, both teams put four on goal. Pitt goalkeeper Johan Peñaranda came up with four saves on the night and recorded the fourth full-game clean sheet of his career. His last full-game clean sheet came against then-seventh-ranked Virginia in the ACC tournament on Oct. 31, 2018. Pitt also won that game 2-0.
With the win over Virginia, Pitt improves its record to 7-5-2 on the season and 3-2-1 in conference. That record ranks second in the ACC Coastal, which is still led by Virginia. The Cavaliers are 11-1-1 overall and 4-1-1 in ACC play. Pitt has two regular-season games remaining against two of the bottom three teams in the Coastal, and two of Virginia’s remaining three games are rivalry matchups with Virginia Tech and North Carolina. So at the moment, Pitt is in contention for a division title.
Next, Pitt will host Duke at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Oct. 25 in its final home game of the regular season. The Blue Devils rank fourth in the Coastal at 6-5-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the ACC. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.