The Pitt men’s soccer team suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Indiana last Friday that knocked them out of the NCAA tournament one game shy of the national championship. But the Panthers maintained their status as one of the top programs in the country, as they concluded the season ranked as the No. 3 team in the United Soccer Coaches poll. The ranking is the highest Pitt has held at the conclusion of a season in program history.
National champion Marshall, which defeated Indiana 1-0 on Monday, took the No. 1 spot, while runner-up Indiana came in at No. 2. And behind No. 3 Pitt, the top five was rounded out by North Carolina at No. 4 and Georgetown at No. 5. All five of the top teams made the Elite Eight of the recently concluded tournament.
The ACC claimed five spots in the top 25, with Wake Forest (No. 6), Clemson (No. 7) and Virginia Tech (No. 15) joining Pitt and North Carolina. That was the most of any major conference, and the next-closest conferences were the Pac 12 and Big East, with three ranked teams apiece. The Big Ten took just two spots.
Pitt finished the two-part 2020-21 season with a 16-4 record, which was the best in the ACC. The win total was also the best in program history. And even in the NCAA tournament, Pitt distinguished itself as a juggernaut, scoring 13 goals in four games and giving up just two.
As a result, Pitt’s players and coaches earned an array of accolades, and the team will return plenty of talent. The list includes first-team All-American and ACC Offensive Player of the Year Valentin Noel and ACC Freshman of the Year Bertin Jacquesson. Also included are several All-ACC players and All-Tournament honoree Filip Mirkovic, and all that talent will be guided by ACC Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich.
Given Pitt's achievements this season and all of the program's returning talent, the future should be bright for the Panthers. And if Vidovich is able to build on the team's deep tournament run, this could be the start of something special in Pittsburgh.