The Pitt men’s soccer team has seen its ups and downs early in the season, but over their last two games, the Panthers have dominated respected teams. And as a result, Pitt moved up 10 spots in the United Soccer Coaches poll on Tuesday, ascending from No. 15 to No. 5.
In this week’s national rankings, Pitt is one of two ACC teams in the top five, as it joins No. 2 Clemson. The team is also edged out in the rankings by rival West Virginia, which comes in at No. 4, and the top five is rounded out by Georgetown and Washington at Nos. 1 and 3. The only other ranked ACC teams are Duke, at No. 12; North Carolina, at No. 16; and Virginia Tech, at No. 17. However, Louisville, Syracuse and Wake Forest are also receiving votes.
Pitt’s rise in rank followed a 1-0 win over a Penn State team that was receiving votes on Monday as well as a 4-0 rout of then-No. 4 North Carolina last Thursday, and those victories seem to have sent the message that the team has stabilized after previous losses to West Virginia and Akron, both by a score of 2-1. It also seems that Pitt has not lost the respect of voters over the course of its losses, as West Virginia and Akron shot up the rankings after beating Pitt, and North Carolina and Penn State did not see major status changes.
The Panthers have a tough road ahead, as they have ACC road matchups with Wake Forest and No. 2 Clemson coming up over the next two weeks. Jay Vidovich has yet to beat his old team, as Wake Forest has gone 2-0 against Pitt during his tenure, and Pitt has gone winless against Clemson in their last three matchups, with the last Pitt win in the series coming in 2018. So the way Pitt closes out September could go a long way toward determining the team’s overall success in the 2021 season.