FINAL: No. 5 Notre Dame 6, No. 20 Pitt 0
Notre Dame handed Pitt one of its most humbling losses in the Jay Vidovich era, rolling to a 6-0 victory which put a stamp on the Irish’s impressive unbeaten regular season in conference play, while the Panthers were left to pick up the pieces ahead of the ACC men’s soccer tournament which will begin next week.
From the start, the Irish disrupted the Panthers’ efforts to get into any kind of rhythm, by bringing a high press and contesting every pass. Eno Nto scored four goals in the one-sided affair, while Pitt’s Cabral Carter made six saves in the defeat.
Pitt, picked in the preseason as the Coastal Division favorite, ended the regular season tied with North Carolina for fourth place in the Division, and they’ll begin the ACC Tournament as an eighth seed, taking on ninth seeded Louisville at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Wednesday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED
In the 10th minute, the rout began with Pitt struggling to play the ball out of the back, when Cabrel Carter’s pass thru center of defending third for Filipe Mercado was jumped by Notre Dame midfielder Bryce Boneau, who won the ball, then played a clever pass to Eno Nto, who buried his chance to give the Irish the 1-0 lead.
Press ➡️ Goal
— Notre Dame Men's Soccer (@NDMenSoccer) October 27, 2023
Pitt nearly responded a few minutes later, when getting forward on a counter, with Albert Thorsen providing a short cross from the left side, that found Luis Sahmkow with nothing but the open goal in front of him, but the junior forward pulled his shot chance wide left.
Carter stood on his head, making a couple of dynamite saves in the latter stages of the first half.
34' | WHAT A SAVE BY CABRAL 🤯🤯
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) October 27, 2023
Notre Dame wouldn’t let Pitt come closer than that the rest of the way.
Boneau would score his own goal, getting on the end of combination passes that thread the needle around Pitt defenders, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead in the 40th minute.
Three more goals came off the foot of Eto in the second half, then former Riverhounds Academy product Wyatt Borso added a laser strike from 22 yards out that put the nail in the Panthers’ coffin.
SIX PIECE FOR THE IRISH!
— Notre Dame Men's Soccer (@NDMenSoccer) October 28, 2023
6-0 is the largest loss for #Pitt ever under head coach Jay Vidovich in his eight years at the helm. It’s also their largest loss ever in ACC play since 2013 and largest loss since a 7-1 defeat to Notre Dame on the road in 2012.
With North Carolina losing to Virginia, Pitt will enter the ACC tournament as the 8th seed, and they’ll host Louisville on Wednesday, November 1, in the First Round of the ACC Men’s Soccer Tournament. The winner of that will face — you guessed it — Notre Dame.