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Pitt men’s soccer team ranked fourth in the nation

After a couple of delays, the Pitt men’s soccer team resumed its season with a 1-0 win over Duquesne on Saturday, improving its overall record to 8-1. The Panthers entered that game ranked No. 2 in the nation, but that ranking had been in place since Nov. 24, 2020, and had not been reconsidered since. That changed on Wednesday, as the latest United Soccer Coaches poll was released and Pitt was ranked as the No. 4 team in the nation.

Clemson, the team that defeated Pitt 2-1 in the ACC championship game on Nov. 22, 2020, retained the No. 1 spot in the poll. That much was expected, but Pitt was also surpassed by SMU and Stanford. The teams out of Texas and California were able to take advantage of good weather and played a combined seven games to Pitt’s one this spring. Stanford had no postponements, while SMU and Pitt had one each, with Pitt also scrapping an exhibition.

That exhibition game was a matchup with Georgetown, the defending national champion and the No. 5 team in the poll. Like Pitt, Georgetown has dealt with bad weather and had to postpone three matchups in addition to its trip to Pittsburgh. However, the Hoyas have since played to a 2-0 record in their first two games since their 20-win 2019 season.

As for the two teams that jumped Pitt in the rankings, the Mustangs have been in action since Feb. 6 and have outscored their three AAC opponents 14-0. And the Cardinal started their season on Feb. 12 and have played and won four games since then, conceding one goal and scoring 13 of their own.

Knocking on the door of the top five is Pitt’s ACC rival Wake Forest at No. 6, and Virginia Tech is just seven spots behind them at No. 13. However, that is the extent of the conference's presence in the poll, as no other ACC teams cracked the top 25. Notre Dame came close, receiving 38 votes, and at the moment, only Missouri State and Tulsa stand in the way of the Fighting Irish and the No. 25 spot.

Pitt is set to meet both Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in the second leg of its season, as the Panthers will face the Hokies in Blacksburg on March 27 and then head home to play the Irish on April 3. But up next for Pitt is a trip to Chapel Hill to face an unranked North Carolina team that has played to a 3-3-2 record. The meeting will be the first between the two teams this season. In their last meeting, the Tar Heels beat the Panthers 2-1 on Oct. 19, 2019.