The Pitt men’s soccer team took on Hofstra in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday in a matchup of two of the top five offensive teams in the nation. However, despite Hofstra’s scoring prowess, Pitt came out on top, notching a 4-0 win on a snowy day at Ambrose Urbanic Field and earning a chance to play in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
It looked as if the Panthers might make quick work of the Pride, as Pitt midfielder Filip Mirkovic found Pitt midfielder Guilherme Feitosa in the box and Feitosa put it away for a goal in the eighth minute. However, the goal was then ruled offside and waved off by the officials. That would lead to a lull in the action, but the quiet was eventually shattered by Mirkovic, who put away a shot from 35 yards out to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead heading into the halftime break.
Unfortunately, just before the end of the opening half, Pitt midfielder Rodrigo Almeida, who had just made his return from an injury, put a shot on goal that was saved and appeared to injure his hamstring in the process. As a result, he left the game and would not return.
In the second half, Pitt would quickly double its lead, as it capitalized on a corner kick by Mirkovic. That scoring chance came three minutes and 22 seconds after the resumption of play, when Mirkovic dropped a corner kick into the box, and Pitt defender Raphael Crivello tapped a shot in over the head of Hofstra defender George O’Malley to make it 2-0.
Fourteen minutes later, Pitt forward Bertin Jacquesson launched a shot into the back of the net from beyond the box to build up a 3-0 advantage for the Panthers. Four minutes after that, Mirkovic and Crivello would connect on another corner kick, with Crivello hammering multiple shots into a wall of Hofstra defenders and eventually getting one through to make it 4-0. And with Hofstra unable to mount a response, that would go down as the final score.
With the win, Pitt will advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, where it will face a familiar opponent. The next hurdle for the Panthers will be the winner of the matchup between Notre Dame and Wake Forest, which will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Each team presents Pitt with a difficult matchup, as the Panthers have played the Fighting Irish twice and the Demon Deacons once. Pitt was unable to win any of those three matchups.