The Pitt men’s soccer team emerged as a powerhouse in 2020, and one of the more unheralded but essential cogs in that machine was Panthers defender Jasper Löeffelsend. Thanks in part to his selfless play and eye for scoring opportunities, Pitt became an offensive juggernaut. But the German standout was recognized by the ACC on Wednesday for his efficient play on defense, earning ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Löeffelsend was a key member of a Pitt defense that recorded four shutouts in seven games this spring, but the Panthers back line was stout all season. In fact, it kept games manageable by allowing one or fewer goals in nine of the team’s 15 games this season, and that was one of the keys to Pitt’s success.
But the German defender was not averse to contributing on the offensive end of the pitch either, and for some, that was where he truly shined. Löeffelsend finished the regular season as Pitt’s leader in assists, with seven in 14 games. That was quite a feat on an unselfish team that saw four players record five or more assists, and it saw him finish the regular season ranked fifth in the nation in assists.
The strong finish to the season by Löeffelsend and the Pitt defense has been essential to the team’s success, and the defender will be relied upon heavily in the coming days and weeks, as Pitt is set to take part in the ACC final and the NCAA tournament. And if Löeffelsend and the Panthers back line can hold strong, Pitt could earn a shot at a national championship.