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Pitt responds to NIU’s early goals with convincing 5-2 win to advance in NCAA tournament

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson

After giving up an early goal, the Pitt Panthers showed off its attacking firepower en route to a 5-2 win against MAC Champion Northern Illinois in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer tournament at Ambrose Urbanic Field on a cold, wet and rainy Sunday evening.

“We are very excited about the win tonight,” Pitt’s Head Coach Jay Vidovich said. “We had a tremendous opponent who tested us early in both halves. I was proud of the way we responded after their [NIU] goals and the resiliency and the ability to take the lead and hold out for the rest of the game. I thought it was a great result for us.”

Five different players scored for Pitt and Bertin Jacquesson added three assists to his one tally to lead the Panthers’ attack.

Pitt will now face Hofstra, most likely on November 27.  Hofstra eliminated Penn State with a second half explosion of goals that led to an 8-2 victory.

Ed Thompson Photo Gallery 

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How It Happened 

Northern Illinois scored off the first shot of the match in the fifth minute as Anthony Markanich gave the Huskies the early lead. Thirty-one seconds later, freshman Guilherme Feitosa received a cross to the left post from Jacquesson, who after a deflection off a Huskie defender finished and scored to tie the game 1-1.

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead in the 30th minute courtesy of a Jacquesson goal. Junior Raphaël Crivello found sophomore Filip Mirkovic in space who sent a long ball pass toward the right side of the 18. Jacquesson hit a powerful right foot strike and connected with the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season. With less than a minute to play in the half, graduate student Jackson Walti scored his first NCAA postseason goal, putting the Panthers up 3-1 at the break.

The Huskies again scored quickly into the half, converting a shot into a goal in the 47th minute off the foot of Roque Viegas Jr. Pitt answered six minutes later as junior Valentin Noel received a long pass from right to left from Jacquesson, took one touch and scored. The goal was Noel’s fourth career NCAA Tournament score.

Graduate student Alexander Dexter added Pitt’s fifth goal in the 74th minute and Jacquesson earned his third assist of the evening. The goal for Dexter was the third NCAA postseason goal in his career.

The Panthers outshot the Huskies 14-9 for the match and finished a 4-3 corner kick advantage. Graduate student goalkeeper Nico Campuzano recorded three saves and earned his 28th career win in goal as a Panther.


–        The NCAA postseason victory at home is the second in program history. The Panthers improved their overall record to 12-5-1 and will host Hofstra at a time and date to be determined.

–        Sophomore Bertin Jacquesson tallied a goal and three assists. His single-game assist total tied an NCAA Tournament record and also tied his career mark set last season. The five points in the match were also a career-high for the Frenchman.

–        Five different Panthers scored and the team as a whole recorded six assists. Pitt entered the match as the number one team in the country in assists per game and second in total assists.

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).

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