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Pitt Men’s Soccer Makes NCAA Tournament for Fifth Straight Season

Pitt men's soccer

Pitt men’s soccer made the NCAA Tournament for a fifth straight time on Monday, as the Selection Committee chose them, despite their record causing concern from fans they wouldn’t make it in.

The Panthers finished the season with a 6-6-4 (W-L-D) overall record, 2-3-3 ACC record and lost to the Louisville Cardinals in the First Round of the ACC Tournament, 2-1, in overtime. Along with this serving as the fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Panthers, they have made three straight Elite Eights and two College Cup appearances in that time, which includes a loss to Indiana in the semifinals last season.

Pitt men’s soccer will face James Madison at Ambrose Urbanic Field, Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. This will serve as just the third time these teams will face off, as James Madison holds a 2-0 series lead, with wins in 2010 and 2017.

James Madison finished with an 8-4-5 overall record and a 4-2-3 record in the Sun Belt. They lost to Kentucky in the Sun Belt Quarterfinals and lost 2-1 back last Sunday.

The Dukes ranked No. 38 in RPI, and managed to get into the tournament as an at-large bid, just like the Panthers. This is the first NCAA Tournament for the Dukes since the 2020-21 COVID-19 season, which saw them lose to UCF, 1-0, on the road in the First Round.

Pitt and James Madison both have four shared opponents in the regular season, in Duquesne, Virginia, Marshall and Georgetown. Both teams beat Duquesne at home, lost to Marshall at home and Georgetown on the road, while James Madison held Virginia to a 1-1 draw at home and Pitt lost 2-1 to them on the road.

The winner of the matchup Thursday night, gets the chance to face Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Sunday afternoon in the Second Round or Round of 32. Pitt played Georgetown in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament back in 2019 and lost 5-0. They also lost 4-1 against Georgetown on the road on Sept. 1.

Pitt men’s soccer has played 10 regular season opponents this season that are in the NCAA Tournament. So despite the .500 record, Pitt had a No. 30 ranking in RPI thanks to having the No. 1 strength of schedule in Division I and with previous success in the NCAA Tournament, it was hard for the Selection Committee to ignore.

The nine regular season opponents are No. 1 Marshall, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Georgetown, No. 7 Virginia, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 15 Duke, Syracuse, Louisville and Denver. Pitt holds a 2-6-2 record against those teams, with wins at home against Wake Forest and Denver, losses to Notre Dame, Georgetown, Virginia, Syracuse on the road and Louisville and Marshall at home, plus draws with North Carolina and Duke at home.

The quadrant of the NCAA Tournament bracket that Pitt mens’s soccer is in features other ranked opponents features Louisville, but also No. 5 West Virginia. If both teams make it to the Elite Eight, a Backyard Brawl in Morgantown, W.Va. would decide who makes it to the College Cup.

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Glory on the Grass

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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