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Scouting Report: Pitt men still in the running to finish first in ACC Coastal

Photo courtesy Pitt Athletics

Coming off its 2-0 victory Friday night on the road against top-ranked Virginia, Pitt men’s soccer team is suddenly sitting in second place in the ACC Coastal division with a record of 7-5-2 (3-2-1, 10 pts, in the ACC). The Panthers are three points behind Virginia in the standings and can still earn the top spot in the division over their final two matches.

“What a great win on the road over the number one team in the country,” said head coach Jay Vidovich. “I’m proud of our guys effort and execution.”

It was the first victory over at top-ranked team in program history.  The previous highest ranked opponent the Panthers beat was second-ranked St. John’s in 2000.

The top four teams in the conference earn a first round bye in the tournament and so Pitt needs to take care of business in their final two matches and also do some scoreboard watching to see what N.C State, Clemson and Virginia are doing as well.  Winning the Coastal division would be a great accomplishment for this program, and signify another step that the team has taken since Vidovich was named head coach in late 2016.

In the latest Top 25 poll, Pitt did receive a couple votes and depending how these next two games go they could find themselves in the rankings by the end of the regular season.

Edward Kizza has led the Panthers on the field with eight goals and four assists as Veljko Petkovic has added five goals and five assists as well.

The scoring depth has been an added bonus this season for the Panthers as 12 players have found the back of the net and they will need it to be there if they are looking to make a run in the ACC Tournament this season as well.

Let’s look at the final two matches of the 2019 regular season for the Panthers:

Friday October 25 vs Duke (7 pm):

The Blue Devils still have four matches remaining this season, but their biggest will be against Pitt on Friday as they are three points behind the Panthers in the ACC Coastal standings.

“The ACC is a tough league and any one team can beat anybody in the country on any given day,” said Duke Head Coach John Kerr.

Duke leads the all-time series against Pitt 6-0-2, including the last meeting in the 2018 ACC Tournament when the Blue Devils won in a penalty kick shootout (4-3) after a scoreless 90 minutes and two overtimes.

Daniele Proch is the leader of this Blue Devils team as he has scored 10 goals and assisted on three.

“Daniele Proch is a very clever player,” said Kerr. “He has the ability to score off crosses or create his own shot. He is always dangerous in and around the penalty area.”

Duke heads into Pittsburgh Friday night having lost three of their last four matches. The Blue Devils will be angry, desperate for a win while facing a Pitt team still on a high after the victory over Virginia.

The match can be seen on ACC Network Extra (ESPN+)

Friday November 1 at Notre Dame (7 pm):

The Fighting Irish are looking to get out of the basement of the ACC with two tough matches coming up against Wake Forest and Pitt.

Notre Dame has an out of conference record of 6-1-1, but in the ACC they are only 1-5.  They are 3-3 in the month of October including a 1-0 victory over Duke, a 2-1 loss to Virginia Tech and a 1-0 loss to Michigan.

Jack Lynn leads the Fighting Irish with 6 goals and an assist this season.

Notre Dame is on the road this Saturday against Wake Forest before closing out the season at home against Pitt.

The match can be seen on ACC Network Extra (ESPN+)

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