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Pitt men’s soccer team ousted from tourney by Notre Dame

The Panthers fell to the Fighting Irish in a tight game decided by penalty kicks

The Pitt men’s soccer team traveled to Alumni Stadium in South Bend on Saturday to take on Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, and despite a hard-fought battle, the Panthers fell to the Fighting Irish, losing on penalty kicks after two overtime periods.

The first half was heavy on fouls and light on offensive action, as there were nine fouls called in the half, with five coming in a span of five minutes. Things would settle down a bit as the half wore on, but there were few clean opportunities for either side until late in the half. Then, in the 41st minute, Pitt freshman Guilherme Feitosa broke the stalemate with a sliding shot to put away a low cross by Pitt defender Jasper Löeffelsend to make it 1-0.

The second half was quiet for about 20 minutes, but a takedown of Notre Dame defender Paddy Burns by Löeffelsend caused a stir. That takedown led to a free kick by Notre Dame midfielder Ethan O’Brien, who found Burns with his kick. Burns then headed the ball into the back of the net to tie the game.

In the final 15 minutes of regulation, the Irish ramped up their offensive attack and put a few dangerous shots in the vicinity of the Pitt goal, but to no avail. The Panthers would threaten as well, but the game again devolved into a series of half-realized attacks as both sides consistently stifled each other’s scoring attempts. And as a result, the game would head into overtime with the score tied at 1-1.

Both teams threatened early in overtime, with Notre Dame midfielder Dawson McCartney putting a shot on goal and Pitt forward Bertin Jacquesson getting a shot off as well. But with neither side able to find the back of the net, the game would head into double-overtime. That period would see similarly even play and no change in the score, meaning the game would be decided by penalty kicks.

Notre Dame would get makes by Jack Lynn, Paddy Burns, Dawson McCartney and Philip Quinton, and Pitt would get makes from Valentin Noel and Guilherme Feitosa, followed by misses by Filip Mirkovic and Alexander Dexter, leading to a 2-1 loss.

With the loss, Pitt’s season comes to an end, and the team’s final record for 2021 stands at 13-6-1. Meanwhile, Notre Dame improves to 15-5-3 and will move on to the College Cup, where it will play the winner of the matchup between Clemson and Oregon State.