NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament – 1st Round
FINAL Pitt 2 , Lehigh 0
Pitt men’s soccer team made the most of it’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 54 years, taking command early, and cruising to a 2-0 lead in the first half against Lehigh University in the first round of the NCAA Men’s soccer tournament, then holding on for the win on Thursday at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
With the win, it also was Head Coach Jay Vidovich’s 300th career win.
“We are very excited to get out first victory in the NCAA Tournament,” Jay Vidovich, Pitt’s fourth year head coach, said. “Hats off to Lehigh, who is coming off of a championship, they were a great foe. I think the game started quite well for us and we found the back of the net after a great play by Edward Kizza and then after another restart we found the back of the net again after a nice play by Bryce Washington. It was great to go into half with the two-goal lead but we still feel like we squandered some chances there in the second half that we could’ve really put the game away. In the big picture that might’ve been a blessing as we have to learn to suffer a little bit when our opponents are putting something on us. Overall we are very excited about moving on.”
Scoring first half goals, both on low crosses from the left side were Edward Kizza and Bryce Washington, as Alexander Dexter and Josh Hesson picked up the assists.
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) November 22, 2019
Pitt got on the board first in the 18th minute thanks to the Dexter-Kizza connection. After receiving a cross from freshman Arturo Ordonez, junior Alexander Dexter found Kizza crashing down the middle and dished it off. Kizza finished to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first half. The goal was Kizza’s 12 of the year.
In the 44th minute, freshman Josh Hesson crossed the ball into the box to Washington who then poked the ball past the Lehigh keeper to give Pitt a 2-0 lead entering the second half.
“Don’t give up a goal,” Vidovich thought as the game was ending. “That’s all I was thinking about the last four to five minutes. We had some sloppy defending and they had a couple chances and I just kept thinking that we cannot concede here. In tournament play, weird things can happen in the last four minutes.”
Redshirt junior Arie Ammann earned the clean sheet, making four saves.
Pitt attempted 18 shots between the two halves, while the Mountain Hawks recorded eight.
After the match, I jumped on with 93.7 The Fan’s Paul Zeise to talk about this monumental win for Pitt men’s soccer.
Pitt now 10-7-2, will now take on Georgetown on Sunday in the NCAA tournament’s second round in Washington D.C. — in a match that will kickoff at Noon.
MATCH DAY UPDATES
Look for intermittent updates here. For full coverage — follow John Krysinsky’s updates on Twitter @pghsoccerscribe
FINAL | PITT WINS 2-0
87′ | Luchini with a point blank chance on back post for Lehigh that would have cut the lead in half, but hits it over the bar!
80′ | Petkovic bends a shot from left edge of box — rebound comes to Dexter, but he can’t put it away as his shot goes wide right of goal.
78′ | Dangerous free kick for Lehigh — and it’s redirected on frame forcing Pitt’s Arie Ammann to make a quick reaction punch away save!
At the half @Pitt_MSOC is up 2-0 on @LehighU in the first round of the @NCAA @NCAASoccer championship here in Pittsburgh. @PghSoccerScribe has the call and recap later tonight. #NCAA pic.twitter.com/UWhqsi81x4
— Ed Thompson (@ThompsonFoto12) November 22, 2019
62′ | Pitt subs. Braden Kline Edward Kizza Matt Bailey Alex Dexter
55′ | Lots of Pitt pressure, but Will Smith coming up with some big saves.
HALF – PITT leads 2-0
Halftime stats of note:
Pitt with edge in shots (9-4) and corners (3-0).
Ammann with three saves for Pitt and Smith with two saves for Lehigh.
43′ – GOAL – PITT- Bryce Washington
Bryce Washington with the one-time finish after low cross in from Josh Hesson
13′ – GOAL – PITT – Edward Kizza
It’s a cross from Alexander Dexter. Kizza cleans it up in the goal box after Lehigh’s GK Will Smith has a little trouble trying to secure it.
PItt’s starting XI:
2- Nyk Sessock, 4- Bryce Washington, 5 – Arturo Ordonez, 24 Jackson Walti, 27 – Anthony Harding
7 – Braden Kline, 8 – Valentin Noel, 19 – Veljko Petkovic,
13 – Alexander Dexter, 9 – Edward Kizza
Lehigh’s anticipated starting XI:
Will Smith (G), 2 – Justin Scharf, 4 – Zarin Tuten, 7 – Dawson Berger, 15 – Nick Jennings, 26 – Tyler Dressman, 6 – Trevor Koski, 8 – Stevo Bednarsky, 10 – Michael Tahiru, 19 – Josh Luchini, 20 – Natan Rosen
Pittsburgh Soccer Now‘s Mark Goodman previewed the match and provides a scouting report on Lehigh.
There’s certainly a lot of hype surrounding the match.
A well-known Pitt soccer alum is excited for this one…
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) November 21, 2019
"To see it packed like that… it really helped us out."
Let's do it again!
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) November 21, 2019
Thursday, November 21 – 7 p.m. – Ambrose Urbanic Field
Broadcast: ACC Network | Stream: ESPN+
THE SERIES – LEHIGH
· The Panthers and Mountain Hawks meet for just the second time in program history. The last time these two teams met, Pitt shutout Lehigh, 3-0, Aug. 18, 2015.
· This will be the first time facing Lehigh for head coach Jay Vidovich.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN HAWKS
John Krysinsky provided this feature on former North Allegheny standout, Josh Luchini, who leads Lehigh with 11 goals this season.
· Lehigh enters Thursday’s game 13-4-3 overall and finished 6-0-3 in the Patriot League.
· In their last time out, the Mountain Hawks defeated Lafayette, 1-0, for the Patriot League Championship.
· Lehigh shutout Bucknell 1-0 in the semifinal game before defeating Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks ended the regular season winning three of its last five games, while drawing two ties as well.
· Lehigh has not lost since Oct. 15 when the team dropped a 3-0 decision at Princeton.
· Lehigh’s goalies have combined for a 0.846 save percentage, which is currently ranked fourth in the country.
· Goalie Will Smith has allowed just 13 goals and a 0.66 goals against average. Smith totaled a Patriot League best 81 saves on the season.
· Josh Luchini leads the Mountain Hawks in points (54) and goals (11) and has recorded 57 shots and five game-winners.
· Trevor Koski has been the number one facilitator for Lehigh, leading the team in assists with five.
2019 MEETS 1965
· Pitt’s at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament is the first since 1965.
· Pitt hosted East Stroudsburg on Nov. 11, 1965 and fell 2-0 at Pitt Stadium. The Panthers finished that season 7-2-1.
· Pitt is making its third NCAA Championship appearance in program history (1962, 1965).
PITT IN THE RPI
· The NCAA released the sixth RPI of the 2019 season Monday, Nov. 18.
· The Panthers moved to No. 31 after previously sitting at No. 32.
· Pitt’s highest RPI in program history came in October of 2017 at No. 14.
· The Panthers have defeated two teams inside the top 25 in the RPI including No. 1 Virginia and No. 7 Virginia Tech.
· Four ACC schools are among the top 10 including No. 1 Virginia, No. 4 Clemson, No. 6 Wake Forest and No. 7 Virginia Tech.
THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
· The Championship is a 48-team single elimination tournament.
· All first-round games will be played Thursday, Nov. 21, on campus sites, while all second-round action will take place Sunday, Nov. 24.
· The College Cup will be held on Friday, Dec. 13 and conclude Sunday, Dec. 15 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Coverage will be aired on ESPNU.
VIDOVICH’S NCAA RESUME
· Fourth-year head coach Jay Vidovich is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, winning the 2007 National Championship with Wake Forest after going 22-2-2.
· Vidovich led the Demon Deacons to four straight College Cup appearances from 2006-09 and made the NCAA Tournament in 13 of this final 14 seasons at Wake Forest.
· Freshman Veljko Petkovic will be going up against a familiar face Thursday, as his older brother Bratislav is a forward for the Mountain Hawks.
· Veljko has totaled six goals, five assists and one game-winning goal, while Bralislav has one score on the season.
· In the event of a Pitt win Thursday night, the Panthers will travel to third-seeded Georgetown Sunday, Nov. 24 for a noon kickoff in Washington, D.C.