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Pitt hosts ACC foe Virginia in U.S. Soccer Spring College Program match on Saturday

The Riverhounds home opener is another week away, but if you want to check out some high level men’s soccer in Pittsburgh this weekend, look no further than Ambrose Urbanic Field.

Pitt’s men’s soccer team will continue play in the U.S. Soccer Spring College Program while hosting Virginia for a 12 p.m. on Saturday. 

The Panthers are one of just 13 teams competing in the Spring College Program, with squads split into North and South divisions. Boston College, Connecticut, Providence, Rutgers and Syracuse comprise the North Division, while the South Division is split into two groups with Georgetown, Pitt, Virginia and Virginia Tech in one, and Clemson, Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest in the other. 

In the South Division, each institution will play three matches and one playoff match against the coinciding seed from the opposite group. Each team in the North Division will play each other once, and the team with the most points will be crowned the division champion. The spring program will use a point system (three points for win; one point for draw) to determine seeding.

The rules for each game played in the Spring College Program will function similarly to U.S. Soccer Development Academy standards. Games will be played with traditional time keeping, seven substitutions over three moments in the game, and no re-entry.

Pitt’s spring squad features 18 players from its fall team in senior Tom Moxham, redshirt junior Jacob Rooth, junior Alex Peperak, sophomoresAlexander DexterEdward KizzaMarcony PimentelJose Luis Sena Arbona and Chad Stout, redshirt freshman Tim Townsend and freshmen Rodrigo AlmeidaFacundo CostantiniAnthony HardingJohan PenarandaNyk SessockAlexander SteinbachAlec TownsendChandler Vaughnand Jackson Walti.

Two of those returnees earned All-ACC accolades following the conclusion of the 2018 season in Kizza and Vaughn. Kizza collected First Team All-ACC honors after finishing the season tied for third in school history in goals (15) and ranking fifth in points (30). Vaughn was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team after appearing in 18 matches for the Panthers while making 15 starts and recording two assists in his inaugural campaign.

Pitt’s spring roster also welcomes four newcomers to the fold in junior Braden Kline, redshirt sophomore Arie Ammann, sophomore Matt Bailey and freshman Luke Mort.

GCC’s Luke Mort, three transfers among Pitt men’s recruiting Class of 2019

Kline joins the Panthers after spending three seasons at Providence. Ammann comes to Pitt following three years at Penn State, while Bailey moves to Pittsburgh after two season at UMBC. Mort joins the Panthers after being an early graduate from Greensburg Central Catholic High School.

In the 2018 season, the Cavaliers compiled a 10-4-3 overall record to go along with 3-2-2 mark in ACC play. Virginia advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to No. 13 Notre Dame in overtime, 1-0. Pitt collected its first ACC Tournament victory in program history against the Cavaliers in 2018, recording a 2-0 win over No. 7 Virginia in the first round of the tournament.

Kizza’s brace leads Pitt to upset of Virginia, first-ever ACC playoff win

The Panthers finished the 2018 season with an 8-10-1 overall record and a 2-6 mark against ACC foes. Pitt collected two wins against ranked opponents on the year, including its first-ever ACC Tournament victory over No. 7 Virginia. The squad advanced to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, where it eventually fell to No. 8 Duke in a penalty kick shootout.

Pitt will close out its spring season with a to-be-determined matchup in the Spring College Program Saturday, April 13 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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