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Pitt men to kick off Spring with exhibition vs defending NCAA champs, Georgetown

From University of Pittsburgh men’s soccer report

When the Pitt men’s soccer 2019 season came to a conclusion, despite many program firsts including winning a home ACC playoff match, reaching, hosting and winning an NCAA tournament match for the first time since 1967, they tasted a bitter second round NCAA tournament defeat to the eventual National Champions, Georgetown.

On Saturday, Pitt will return to action after an even more successful 2020 fall swing against Georgetown at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

Kick-off is slated for 3 p.m. on the ACC Network Extra.

The Panthers will return its entire squad from the first half of season when they took over the top spot in the National Rankings for the first time in program history for four weeks until losing in the ACC Championship match to Clemson, 2-0.

Pitt took another step forward with impressive Fall campaign, but there’s more work to do

School Updates/PSA

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fans are not allowed in attendance at this time. Updates on fans and spectator viewership will be posted to the athletics website and social media handles when announced.

New Beginnings

  • The game will be the first official men’s soccer contest in school history played in February. Pitt endured spring seasons in the past, but no games counted toward its record. Saturday’s game will not affect Pitt’s current 7-1 record and stats will not count. All stats and record changes will go into effect for the Panthers’ first spring regular season game Saturday, Feb. 20 vs. Akron.

Remembering a Historic Fall Season

  • The Panthers concluded the fall season with the best start in program history, finishing 7-1 overall and 4-0 in ACC play. Pitt earned a trip to the ACC Championship Final Nov. 22 for the first time in school history. The seven consecutive wins to begin the season were a program best, and the four Atlantic Coast Conference wins matches a program best (2019). Pitt has six scheduled ACC games this spring.
  • Pitt also achieved an accomplishment only two other sports in Pitt Athletic history have done before, earning the number one ranking in its respective sports poll. The Panthers were named No. 1 Oct. 20 by the United Soccer Coaches Poll, joining football and men’s basketball as the only Pitt sports named to the top spot. Pitt finished as the number two team in the final fall regular season poll Nov. 24.
  • The Panthers finished the fall with the number one scoring offense in the country, averaging 2.88 goals per contest. They were also the number one ranked team in points per game (9.00), total assists (26) and total points (72).

Mac Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List/Accolades

  • Sophomores Valentin Noel and Veljko Petkovic were named to the Mac Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List in January. The nominations were the first in program history.
  • The Mac Hermann recognizes the top men’s and women’s collegiate soccer players each year and is dubbed “The Heisman Trophy” of college soccer.
  • Noel, Petkovic, graduate student Jasper Löeffelsend and sophomore Arturo Ordoñez were recognized by TopDrawerSoccer Feb. 5, receiving Top 100 Preseason Watch List honors. Noel and Petkovic earned No. 8 and 15, respectively, while Löeffelsend was named No. 50 and Ordoñez No. 71.
  • Noel and Petkovic also garnered TopDrawerSoccer Preseason Best XI Team honors, with Noel earning First Team and Petkovic Second Team. Freshman Filip Mirkovic was also recognized on the Freshman Team.

Scouting the Hoyas

  • Georgetown enters the 2021 spring season 14 months out from its best season in program history. The Hoyas finished the 2019 campaign 20-1-3, won the Big East Championship for the third-straight year and won the NCAA Championship for the first time in school history.
  • This will be Georgetown’s second game in four days. The Hoyas traveled to VCU for an exhibition Wednesday afternoon.
  • Georgetown returns multiple key figures from the 2019 team, including senior midfielder Jacob Montes and junior goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis. Both were named to the Mac Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List in January. Montes finished 2019 with 11 goals, five assists, 25 shots on goal and four game-winners. Nikopolidis tallied a 10-1-1 record with 36 saves and five shutouts in goal in 2019.
  • Other notable returners include senior forward/midfielder Derek Dodson and senior midfielder Paul Rothrock. Dodson registered 11 goals, eight assists, 35 shots on goal and a .522 shot on goal percentage last season, while Rothrock totaled four goals, seven assists, 18 shots and 12 shots on goal.

Up Next

  • Pitt begins the regular season Saturday, Feb. 20 at home against Akron.
  • Game time is set for 3 p.m. on the ACCNX.

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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