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Pitt men’s soccer team earns No. 5 seed in NCAA tourney

PittsburghPanthers.com

The Pitt men’s soccer team earned the No. 5 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament on Tuesday, as well as a first-round bye, after going 11-5-1 over the course of the regular season. Pitt emerged from the season as the ACC Coastal champion but was bounced from the ACC tournament by Notre Dame.

NCAA.com

Pitt will play the winner of Northern Illinois and Oakland, and beyond that lie some chances to encounter familiar foes in later rounds. Should Pitt advance to the third round of the tournament, it could face rival Penn State, a team it beat 1-0 in Happy Valley on Sept. 13. And in the quarterfinals, a tilt with ACC rivals Notre Dame or Wake Forest could await.

If Pitt is able to reach the semifinals, the team could find itself up against Akron, Clemson or North Carolina, among others. Pitt shut out Clemson and North Carolina in September but fell to Akron 2-1 earlier that month. Meanwhile, a berth in the final could pit Pitt against teams that have spoiled past tournaments for the Panthers, such as Georgetown and Indiana.

Other familiar opponents Pitt could face include Duke, Louisville and Virginia Tech. But perhaps of greater concern is that defending champion Marshall is in the mix, as is West Virginia, a bitter rival that dealt Pitt a convincing 2-1 defeat on Aug. 30.

Last season, a more dominant Pitt team earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and went on an impressive run, earning lopsided wins over Monmouth, UCF and Washington. Ultimately, the team was derailed in the semifinals by Indiana with a 1-0 loss, but it retained some key pieces, including ACC Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich and ACC Defender of the Year Jasper Löeffelsend.

Pitt is set to play its first tournament game on Sunday, and it will get home-field advantage, with the contest set to take place at Ambrose Urbanic Field. The game is scheduled to get underway from Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. ET.