University of Portland soccer team heading for biggest match in three decades
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The University of Portland men’s soccer team is getting ready to head back east for the Pilot’s biggest match in nearly three decades.
FOX 12 caught up with the team at their final practice before taking off for the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
“We are just going to keep chasing the dream,” said defender Delentz Pierre.
Three NCAA tournament victories has the Pilots into its first Elite Eight since the 1995 with a quarterfinal match at Pitt on Saturday morning.
“We are carrying the west against the east basically and people don’t see us, little Portland as a major powerhouse or anything like but I think we are, and we are showing the nation that,” said Pierre.
Having lost just two matches all season, owners of the school’s highest winning percentage since 1988, the Pilots navigated the west coast conference and then defeated UC Riverside in round one at home before shutting out and shocking Oregon State in Corvallis ahead of some Merlo Magic last Saturday night with a 1-Nil result over Western Michigan. U.P. will again be the underdogs against the Panthers.
“This is motivating us a bit more because I don’t think a lot of people will have faith or trust in us, but we definitely have in ourselves,” said goalkeeper George Tasouris.
One win and the U.P. men will advance to their first-ever college cup, the Final Four in Cary, North Carolina.
“Once you get so close to something then it almost feels like you can touch it but there is a lot of fight left for us to get there,” said Tasouris.
It’s the same purple grit head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt has taught since arriving seven years ago.
“This group has really been able to identify with the community and represent the blue collar, hard working nature or North Portland,” Carlin Voigt said.
Earned, not given, as the last west coast team remaining.
“That’s what makes life special, that’s what makes sports special is when you come together and you make the impossible, possible.”
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