Pitt’s Vidovich: ‘We’ll have to keep improving’

After a 3-0 loss to nationally ranked Akron last week, Pitt’s men’s soccer coach Jay Vidovich indicated that despite a number of positives that have come in his second season of trying to rebuild his program, they still remain behind.

Boy, Vidovich wasn’t kidding.

Pitt ended its season on Wednesday — losing 5-0 at No. 21 Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium in the first round of the ACC Men’s Soccer Tournament.

Pitt finished the 2017 season with an 8-10-0 overall record and 2-6 in ACC (certainly progress!), but having lost its last four matches — and each by a wider margin, had to be a bit sobering.   

Progress has come in various accomplishments for Pitt’s program under Vidovich in 2017:

  • The Panthers finished the year with eight wins for the first time since the 2002 season when they finished 8-9-1.
  • They beat three nationally ranked teams, two of them on the road
  • Since joining the ACC in 2012, they finally won an conference game
  • The Panthers even defeated three long-time school rivals, West Virginia, Penn State and Syracuse during one stretch. 

But, by the end of the season, reality set in for the Panthers. As they were mired in a season ending losing streak, Vidovich warned the overly optimistic — that much work remains to be done.

“Ask me where we are as a team, and this and that, and in a way, we’re behind as a program,” Vidovich explained. “We’ve left games on the table. We think we could have won more games. The biggest thing, to build a better program, we have to improve our depth. The numbers in the program, we’ll have to keep improving.”

He would also add, after losing 3-0 to Akron with five starters missing, his program lacks numbers to compete at the highest level.

“It’s shows that when you lose like that, without a number of our starters, we are not complete.

In Wednesday’s match, the seventh-seeded Irish built a 3-0 first half lead and the 10th-seeded Panthers would be unable to recover.

The Irish jumped to a 1-0 lead just one minute and 30 seconds into the match, as Jon Gallagher deflected redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Mikal Outcalt’s kick into the goal.

Notre Dame added its second goal of the night in the 11th minute as Sean Dedrick sent a ball from the right flank to the middle of the box and found the foot of Blake Townes.

The Fighting Irish extended their first half lead in the 38th minute off a free kick. Felicien Dumas sent a 23-yard laser to the right side of the goal, bringing the score to 3-0.

Notre Dame tacked on its fourth goal in the 49th minute when Jeff Farina buried the rebound off his initial shot. 

ND’s Farina struck again in the 62nd minute as he headed in a corner, giving the Irish a 5-0 lead over the visiting team.

Pitt was out-shot by the Irish 10-3 while Notre Dame finished with a 9-1 advantage in corners.

 

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