Pitt midfielder Valentin Noel and Pitt defender Jasper Löeffelsend were honored by the United Soccer Coaches organization on Thursday, as Noel was named a first-team All-American and Löeffelsend was named a second-team All-American. Noel and Löeffelsend are the first players in the program's 67-year history to distinguish themselves as All-Americans.
Noel, who hails from Niort, France, ranks second in the nation in goals scored, with 14. The midfielder is currently on a three-game scoring streak that began in Pitt’s first game of the NCAA tournament. With another goal, he would tie Oregon State forward Gloire Amanda for the national lead, and with two, he would take sole possession of the national lead.
The Frenchman has also shown a knack for coming up with clutch goals, as three of his 14 have been game-winners, including his most recent goal against Washington. And in addition to scoring goals, Noel has recorded two assists to bring his point total up to 30 for the season. That point total is the best among the Panthers and ranks third nationally.
Of course, Noel’s goal total would have been a bit lower if not for Löeffelsend, who assisted on four of his 14 scores. The German defender has tallied nine assists this season, which leads the team and ranks fourth in the nation. And with none of the top three play facilitators in the nation active anymore, he could rise in the ranks if he is able to add to his total.
Löeffelsend has also been an essential member of a Pitt back line that has held opponents scoreless in six of the team’s 11 games this spring. The Pitt defense has also been especially solid during the NCAA tournament, as it has shut out opponents twice and allowed just one goal in three games. And thanks in part to Löeffelsend’s contributions, Pitt has been able to outscore opponents 13-1 since the start of the tournament.
In addition to the All-America honors, Noel and Löeffelsend were honored as first-team All-Region players by the United Soccer Coaches organization. They were joined by Pitt goalkeeper Nico Campuzano, who was also placed on the first team, as well as Veljko Petkovic, who made the second team, and Jackson Walti, who earned a spot on the third team. The five All-Region honorees are the most Pitt has ever had in a single season.
Now, with one of the highest honors in the game secured, Noel and Löeffelsend will look to extend their impressive seasons in Cary, North Carolina, when Pitt faces Indiana in the College Cup on Friday night.