Head Coach Jay Vidovich and the Pitt men’s soccer team has already had an eventful calendar year.
After his team was eliminated from the College Cup in May, Vidovich reckoned that there wouldn’t be much time to recoup. Finishing one season in mid-May, the Panthers have turned the page and will be ready to start all over again, with a roster that will have some new recruits, and only lose a few seniors.
As a program, they’re clearly in position to get right back to that stage.
“How proud of our guys and how they played and the effort that they put in. They knew what it meant to the school, to the program. When we started training in August (2020), we didn’t even know if we would have a season,” Vidovich said after the last game of the 2020-21 season. “Thanks to the leadership of the ACC we had a season (last) Fall. We had an opportunity to grow and mature. The long term effects for our team will be tremendous.”
Coming off a program first-ever appearance in the NCAA College Cup in May in an unprecedented and extended 2020-21 season, the Panthers will be embarking on a 15-game schedule for the 2021 regular season.
The Panthers announced that they’ll start the 2021 campaign with two exhibitions, the first at home against Robert Morris Saturday, Aug. 14 and a road contest at Maryland Saturday, Aug. 21. Both slated to start at 7 p.m.
The regular season for coach Vidovich, who was recently signed to a contract extension through 2025, and the Panthers will begin at home against cross-town Duquesne University on August 26.
Home and away contests are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. EST with the exception of the match vs. Duquesne and Sept. 17th road match at Wake Forest, which are scheduled for 8 p.m.
In addition to the Dukes, Ambrose Urbanic Field will host Lehigh, North Carolina, Syracuse, Cleveland State, Duke, UMass and Virginia Tech.
The Panthers open the 2021 season with Duquesne Aug. 26. Pitt defeated the Dukes 1-0 last spring and face them in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2011-12. Pitt travels to Morgantown, W. Va., for its first road match of the year against West Virginia Monday, Aug. 30. This will be the 50th meeting between the Panthers and Mountaineers and first time since 2018.
The Panthers host Lehigh Friday, Sept. 2 for a rematch of its 2019 NCAA Tournament First Round match. Pitt then head to Ohio to face Akron Monday, Sept. 6 and return home to play North Carolina in its first ACC match of the year. The Tar Heels were one of the four teams in the 2020 NCAA College Cup, joining Pitt as two ACC schools represented last season.
Pitt hits the road for three straight contests, beginning with Penn State Monday, Sept. 13, Wake Forest Friday, Sept. 17 and concluding with Clemson Saturday, Sept. 25.
All three schools earned trips to the 2020 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship, with Clemson earning the No. 1 overall seed (Pitt was No. 2).
The Panthers return home for three straight to begin the month of October, with Syracuse Friday, Oct. 1, Cleveland State Tuesday, Oct. 5 and Duke Saturday, Oct. 9. Pitt squares off with Cleveland State for the first time since 2018 and faces Duke for the third time in two seasons.
Two road contests ensue after Pitt’s home stand, with trips to South Bend, Ind., to face Notre Dame Saturday, Oct. 16 and Charlottesville, Va., to take on Virginia Friday, Oct. 22. The Panthers went 3-0 last season against the Irish and will see them for a fourth time in two years.
The regular season concludes with home matches against UMass Monday, Oct. 25 and Virginia Tech Friday, Oct. 29. The late October meeting against the Minutemen will be the first in program history.
Pitt finished 16-4 overall and 9-1 in ACC play last season en-route to its first Coastal Division crown in school history.
The Panthers were awarded the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, making its first ever appearance in the College Cup. Pitt was also ranked No. 1 by the United Soccer Coaches poll on two separate occasions last year, becoming the third Pitt athletics sport (men’s basketball, football) to be named No. 1 in its respected official poll.
The Panthers season ended in the National Semifinal, in a loss to Indiana University.
This Fall, the ACC Championship Tournament begins with the Quarterfinals Sunday, Nov. 7, followed by the Semifinals Wednesday, Nov. 10. Both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played at the higher seed campus sites, with the Championship Final being played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 14.