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Men’s soccer routed 5-0 by top-ranked Pitt in regular season finale

The Panthers offensive attack was too much for the Cavaliers

<p>The Virginia offense struggled throughout the entire match to break through the electric Pitt defense.</p>

The Virginia offense struggled throughout the entire match to break through the electric Pitt defense.

Virginia men’s soccer was defeated 5-0 by No. 1 Pitt on Thursday night at Ambrose Urbana Field in Pittsburgh. The Panthers (13-2, 9-1 ACC) got out to an early start, scoring in the first few minutes of play, and did not let up for the rest of the game. With this loss, the Cavaliers (7-8-1, 4-7-1 ACC) finished the regular season with three straight losses to ACC opponents.

Pitt got on the scoreboard early after a goal by senior forward Alexander Dexter in the fourth minute. Dexter headed the ball, which deflected off a Virginia defender and into the back of the net. Sophomore forward Axel Gunnarsson had a good chance on goal for the Cavaliers in the 11th minute following a Virginia corner kick, but his shot was blocked on the goal line by a Pitt defender.

The Panthers scored again with just 15 seconds remaining in the first half to take a two-goal lead. Freshman forward Luke Peperak’s goal capped off a dominant first half for the Panthers, who outshot the Cavaliers 9-1 in the first half. 

The Virginia offense struggled to break through the Pitt defense. Freshman midfielder Jules Anderson had back-to-back shots in the 52nd minute but could not find the back of the net. Pitt then sealed the game with goals in the 67th and 69th minutes. Freshman forward Bertin Jacquesson’s impressive free kick goal and freshman midfielder Filip Mirkovic’s one-time shot from the top of the box gave the Panthers a 4-0 advantage.

A header by senior defender Bryce Washington in the final seconds of the match completed a dominant all-around victory for Pitt. With their win, the Panthers claimed their first ACC Coastal Division Championship. Pitt will face off with Clemson April 17 in the ACC Championship for a chance to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Graduate student defender Louis Evans and freshman midfielder Julian Aguilar made their first career starts as Cavaliers in the match. Evans played the full game, and Aguilar totalled 84 minutes of action. 

Without a chance to compete for an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, Virginia’s postseason fate is out of its control. The Cavaliers will have to wait and see if their season will continue, as only 12 teams will be selected to compete in the tournament as at-large bids.