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FINAL: Pitt 2, Duke 1 (ACC Men’s Quarterfinal)

Photo Courtesy Pitt Athletics
ACC Championship quarterfinal round

FINAL: No. 1 Pitt  2, Duke 1


The number one ranked Pitt men’s soccer team held off Duke’s late second half push to earm a 2-1 victory in the ACC Championship quarterfinal round match Sunday night at Dail Soccer Field/Track Complex.

“It was a tremendous game for us considering the situation, coming back and pulling out a win in a big time game,” said head coach Jay Vidovich. “I am proud of the effort our guys showed out there and the personality of the steel weathering the storm. We found goals when needed to and it was overall a tremendous effort and a big step for the program.”

How It Happened

Duke controlled the early portion of the game, totaling three shots and one shot on goal in the first seven minutes of the game. Pitt, who last played October 23rd against Louisville, started to find its rhythm on the offensive end and capitalized in the 34th minute. The Panthers went on the attack in the middle of the field into Duke territory. Noel found Walti on the left side of the 18-yard box, who used his right foot to find the far post for the game’s opening goal.

Pitt went into halftime leading 1-0. Duke held an 8-6 advantage in shots, while both teams tallied four corner kicks. The Blue Devils also tallied three yellow cards in the first 45 minutes.

The Panthers came out firing early in the second half, as both Noel and senior Alexander Dexter had shots on goal from five yards out. Duke knotted the contest up at one all in the 59th minute, as Stephen O’Connell gathered a rebound off a save from graduate student Nico Campuzano and found the back of the net.

Pitt answered back quickly, courtesy of Noel in the 62nd minute. Collecting the ball off a turnover, freshman Filip Mirkovic passed up-field to Dexter, who ran along the left sideline and crossed it in to Noel for the goal.

Duke put the pressure on Pitt’s back line late in the second half, forcing three shots including one that hit the cross bar in the final six minutes. The Panthers held off the Blue Devils’ late push and clinched a spot in the ACC Championship semifinals with a 2-1 victory.

Duke finished the game with a 15-12 shot advantage, only the second team to outshoot the Panthers this season (Virginia Tech). Duke also edged the Panthers in corner kicks, 6-5. Campuzano collected two saves in a complete game effort.

Pitt next plays Notre Dame Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 8 PM. The game will be held at the Dail Soccer Field/Track Complex in Raleigh, N.C., and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

News & Notes

  • The win advanced the Panthers into the ACC Championship semifinals, the second trip to the semis in as many years.
  • Junior Jackson Walti opened the scoring for both teams in the 34th minute for his first goal of the season. Walti’s score was the third of his career, with his last goal coming at home against Duke on Oct. 25, 2019.
  • Sophomore Valentin Noel scored his sixth goal and first game-winning score of the season. With his goal in the 62nd minute, Noel became the first player in program history to score a goal in four consecutive games.
  • The Panthers begin the season 6-0 for the first time since 2000.
  • The win improved Pitt’s ACC Tournament record to 3-3-1, including a 3-1-1 mark since 2018.

Live Updates


Up next for Pitt, will be Notre Dame.

A few times Duke brought pressure, and despite some shaky moments playing it out of the back, Pitt kept its composure and held enough possession late to hold on for the win.

While Pitt allowed 15 shots, they only allowed three on frame.

90′ | Red card on DUKE

It was Matthias Frick who was sent off.

Peperak, who played at Connellsville, being used at the top of the formation to keep high pressure on Duke’s back line.


62’| GOAL!  PITT 2, DUKE 1 – Valentin Noel with the score.

The sophomore answers with a goal on a nice ball from Alexander Dexter.

Mirkovic found Dexter who played it through to Noel.  Val is the first player in program history to score a goal in four consecutive contests.

59′ | GOAL! PITT 1, DUKE 1

Duke scores!

56′ | Duke called for its fourth yellow card of the evening. Pitt leads, 1-0, over the Blue Devils 11 minutes into the second half.

49′ | Pitt has forced its way into the box twice, putting two shots on goal early in the second half. Both teams have eight shots on the evening.


35′ Goal Pitt! Panthers lead 1-0.

33′ A nice long diagonal in to Petkovic, Dexter tries a funky back heel but doesn’t get enough on it.

29′ Very good man marking by Duke all over the field. Pitt isn’t getting much time to play through, and it’s keeping them from their normal crisp and dangerous attacks.

22′ Veljko Petkovic steps in front of a pass in the Duke half and whips it in. Duke’s defender turns it away, but it earns Pitt another corner. They can’t convert, though.

15′ Pitt has a free kick, turned away by the GK, then a corner, a reset and cross, and a blocked volley from the corner of the 18-yard box all in about a 60-second interval. Good looks, all.

13′ Yellow Card – Duke’s Mattias Frick brings down a Pitt attacker in an advanced spot and Soren Stoica pulls out the book again. That’s two CBs for Duke and two cards with yet a lot of soccer still to go.

8′ Yellow Card – Duke’s Antino Lopez goes into a slide tackle late on Valetin Noel, gets his leg, and a card. Noel not hurt.

7′ Alexander Dexter gets downfield for a long diagonal out of the middle, but he’s offside. That’s the second time we’ve seen that situation transpired in just a short period of time.

5′ Duke pressing aggressively in the Pitt end, and it’s keeping the Panthers off balance.

1′ We’re underway in Raleigh, NC.

ACC Championship quarterfinal round

No. 1 Pitt (5-0) vs Duke (2-5) 

Sunday, Nov. 15 | 6 pm | Dail Soccer Field/Track Complex, NC State in Raleigh, NC


Pitt earned the number one seed out of the North Region for the ACC Championship, the highest seed in program history. The Panthers finished the regular season 5-0 and 4-0 in league play.


Local product, redshirt freshman forward Luke Mort making first ever start tonight for @Pitt_MSOC! One omission from Pitt’s regular lineup from first 5 reg season games… is Bertin Jacquesson


Taking a closer look at No. 1 Pitt men’s soccer: Defenders / Goalkeepers

Taking a closer look at No. 1 ranked Pitt: Midfielders

Taking a closer look at No. 1 ranked Pitt: Forwards



–          North Region No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked team in the country Pitt squares off against the No. 4 South Region Duke Blue Devils in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Championship Tournament Sunday, Nov. 15.

–          The number one seed is the highest seed the Panthers have received in program history at the ACC Tournament.

–          The contest will be held on the site of NC State at the Dail Soccer Field/Track Complex at 6 PM.

–          All quarterfinal and semifinal games will be televised on the ACC Network, with the championship round aired on ESPNU.


–          This year has been a milestone season for Pitt, setting new program highs and making school history.

–          The Panthers earned a ranking of number one in the country on Oct. 20 for the first time in program history. Men’s soccer joins football and men’s basketball as the only Pitt athletics teams to earn the No. 1 spot in their respective polls.

–          Pitt’s 5-0 overall start is the best start to a season since the Panthers began 5-0 in 2002.

–          The 4-0 record in the ACC is now tied for most ACC wins in a season. Pitt went 4-3-1 in league play last year.

–          Four of the five victories for the Panthers have been on the road. Pitt has won its first four road games of the season for the first time since 2000.


–          Sophomore midfielder Valentin Noel has led the offense this season and leads the nation in multiple categories.

–          The Niort, France, native is first in the country in goals per game (1.25), second in total goals (5), points per game (2.75) and shot accuracy (.727) and third in total points (11).

–          Noel has scored a goal in each of his last three contests, becoming just the fifth Panther all-time to score in three consecutive games. The last player to do so was senior forward Alexander Dexter (2017) and a goal against Notre Dame will make Noel the first player in program history with a score in four-straight contests.


–          Freshman Bertin Jacquesson has made an immediate impact for the Panthers since game one, totaling nine points including two goals and five assists.

–          The Frenchman totaled three points in each of his first three games, with highlighted moments including a goal at both Notre Dame and Syracuse and three assists at home vs. Virginia Tech.

–          Jacquesson ranks number one in the country in assists per game (1.00), second in game-winning goals (2) and tied for first with teammate Jasper Löeffelsend total assists (5).


–          Pitt heads into the ACC Tournament with the number one scoring offense in the country, averaging 3.40 goals per game.

–          In five matches played, Pitt has scored at least three goals in all of them, including four goals in two contests (Virginia Tech, Louisville).

–          The Panthers also lead the nation in assists per game (4.00), points per game (10.80) and are second in the country in corner kicks per game (6.40) and shot accuracy (.569).


–          With an assist at Syracuse on Oct. 6, senior Alexander Dexter is now tied for second in program history with 14 career assists.

–          The Bronx, N.Y., native is tied with Dave Reichenbach (1962-1964) and Mark Nigh (1975-78) at second, and sits 12  back from Eric Prex’s (1991-94) all-time record of 26 career assists.


–          Duke leads the all-time series 6-1-2.

–          The last time these two teams met, Pitt scored four unanswered goals to come from behind and defeat the Blue Devils at home, 4-3, on Oct. 25, 2019. Sophomore Veljko Petkovic, junior Jackson Walti and senior Alexander Dexter all scored in that game, with Dexter’s being the decisive game-winner.

–          The 4-3 come-from-behind-win was the first for Pitt in the series’ history.

–          The first meeting between these two schools happened in 1955, with the next coming in 2013 and every year since then.

–          Pitt is 0-0-1 against Duke in the ACC Tournament. The teams played to a draw in the quarterfinals in 2018, with Duke prevailing 4-3 in penalty kicks.


–          Duke enters the quarterfinal with a 2-5 overall record and 2-4 mark in ACC play. Both of Duke’s victories came against NC State, with all of its losses to teams who have been ranked in the top-five this season (Clemson, Kentucky, North Carolina twice & Wake Forest).

–          The Blue Devils enter the contest fourth in the nation in corner kicks per game with 6.14. They have also totaled seven assists, good for 10th in the nation.

–          Graduate student Jack Doran leads the Blue Devil offense with three goals, a number that is ninth in the country. Doran has tallied eight shots, six shots on goal, a .750 shot on goal percentage and one game-winner.

–          Senior Daniel Wright and freshman Nick Pariano have totaled four points, with Wright second on the team in goals (2) and Pariano with a score and two assists (team-best).


–          A win for the Panthers would advance them to the semifinals against the winner of two-seed North Carolina and three-seed Notre Dame.

–          The semifinal game will be played Wednesday, Nov. 18 at either 6 PM or 8 PM at a location to be determined.

–          All quarterfinal and semifinal contests will be aired on the ACC Network, with the championship game aired on ESPNU.

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).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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