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Pitt men’s soccer falls in extra time to Louisville in ACC Tournament

Pitt men's soccer. Jackson Gilman.
Photo courtesy Pitt Athletics

PITTSBURGH — Pitt men’s soccer battled over 110 minutes through overtime against Louisville in the First Round of the ACC Tournament, but fell late in a 2-1 defeat Wednesday night at Ambrose Urbanic Field.

The Panthers (6-6-4) loss makes it back-to-back defeats, as they suffered their biggest defeat in 11 years, when they lost to No. 5 Notre Dame, 6-0, on the road last Friday. It is also the second straight loss to the Cardinals (10-4-3) and drops their record against them all-time to 1-7. This is also the first time that Pitt did not make it out of the First Round of the ACC Tournament and the first time they haven’t won an ACC Tournament match since 2017.

Pitt sophomore goalkeeper Cabral Carter had to make a save in the second minute, as Louisville sophomore forward Konstantinos Georgallides took a shot in the box that Carter managed to catch easily.

The Panthers had their first serious chance in the 21st minute, off some good ball movement. Senior midfielder Felipe Mercado found junior midfielder Guilherme Feitosa on a quick through pass, who then shot it first time at the left near post. Cardinals redshirt first-year goalkeeper Alex Svetanoff made a good save with his right foot to force a corner and keep the match scoreless.

Junior defender Mateo Maillefaud had one more good chance just before halftime, as Svetanoff had to make a diving save on his shot which almost went into the top left corner in the 44th minute.

Pitt had the vast majority of the chances in the second half, with Louisville failing to really test Carter and the back four.

Panthers sophomore forward Eben McIntyre managed to finagle his way into the box after putting in a poor pass, but his shot went wide in the 61st minute. Cardinals junior midfielder Sander Roed had the best chance for his team in the second half, but his shot in the box went over the goal just a minute later.

Senior midfielder Filip Mirkovic put in a dipping shot from 30 yards out, but Svetanoff dove down and pushed it out for a corner kick in the 67th minute. Feitosa also had a shot on goal two minutes later from outside the box, which Svetanoff had no issue with as it came right to him for a simple save.

One of the best chances came from first-year forward Albert Thorsen in the 72nd minute. After the ball bounced around in the box, he hit the ball as hard as he could, but it went right at Svetanoff, who stood his ground and stopped the shot.

Pitt once again had great build up play in the 74th minute, as McIntyre found graduate student midfielder Joao Souza in the box, who then laid it off for Feitosa for a fantastic chance. Feitosa shot on goal, but Svetanoff came forward and blocked it with his knees.

Mirkovic would again threaten in the 81st minute, as he put in a shot from outside the box that Svetanoff had to jump high to put it out for another corner. He would also place a corner right to junior midfielder Michael Sullivan in the 85th minute, but he headed it on to the top of the net.

The match finished scoreless after 90 minutes, so two overtime periods, 10 minutes long, came forward for both teams.

Louisville started out with the first chance in overtime in the 93rd minute, as sophomore forward Damien Barker John drove down the right wing and place a shot at the near post, but Carter stood strong and used his feet to clear the shot away.

Thorsen had another opportunity in the 96th minute, as Feitosa passed him the ball to give him space. Thorsen shot with ferocity, but Svetanoff just had to put his hands off to parry it out as the shot came right at him. Svetanoff finished with a career-high nine saves against Pitt, serving as Louisville’s player of the match.

Barker John would respond right afterwards with a long, dipping shot from just outside the box, but Carter dove down and grabbed it nicely.

The Cardinals finally opened the scoring in the 104th minute. Barker John crossed the ball towards the back post, which found its way to junior defender Mason Tatafu, who just got by Sullivan for the tap in.

Louisville would double the scoring just a minute later to earn a 2-0 lead. Redshirt senior forward Brandon McManus stole a poor pass from Maillefaud and Barker John took just a few touches before sending it from the center circle all the way over Carter’s head into the back of the net.

Pitt would then immediately respond themselves to cut the deficit to one and make the ending a far more interesting one than originally thought. Graduate student Fabian Grau passed it from near the halfway line to McIntyre, who put a pass in for Souza at the back post, which he put into the top of the goal for the score in the 106th minute.

A scrum ensued in the goal afterwards, as Souza tried to get the ball from Louisville defender Josh Jones. Souza got up and touched Tatafu, who then pushed Souza into the goal post. Tatafu received a red card for that and Louisville had to play with 10 men the final four minutes.

Despite the late attack, Pitt didn’t get that tying second goal and Louisville came out victorious. They will travel to play No. 1 Notre Dame on Sunday in the Quarterfinals.

“Utter disappointment,” Panthers head coach Jay Vidovich said following the loss. “I think the result went the wrong way. Hats off to Louisville for getting through and good luck to them moving forward…We left too many goals hanging. Too many chances where we did enter the box, their goalkeeper’s a magnet or we just missed. We created enough chances. The final action just wasn’t good enough.”

Sophomore centre-back Jackson Gilman played another solid game for Pitt men’s soccer. He has played and started all 16 matches this season, one of three Pitt players to do it, and kept his team in the game throughout as the leader of the back four.

He’s looking forward to the NCAA Tournament and hoping for a favorable seed despite an early departure from the ACC Tournament.

“We just have to focus on the next game, focus on the [NCAA] Tournament, keep our heads up,” Gilman said following the loss. “Obviously we would like to get a top 16 seed in the tournament, but just focus on the next one, that’s all we can do. We’re a strong team, we performed well and it just didn’t go our way. Just focus on the Tournament.”

The NCAA Selection Show will occur on Monday, Nov. 13 following the end of Conference Tournaments the day before. Pitt has made the past four NCAA Tournaments, including the past three Elite Eights and two College Cups in the that time frame, with the most recent trip in 2022.

Pitt men’s soccer currently has a 26 ranking in the RPI, which still would put them on track for an NCAA Tournament spot, but they are definitely on the bubble heading into that selection show.

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