Addie Smith | Sports Editor
The Duquesne men’s soccer team defeated the Oakland Grizzlies in an overtime thriller 1-0 this Sunday, concluding an undefeated weekend home stint for the team.
The Dukes (2-0) overtook the Grizzlies (0-1-1) in the 97th minute of the game on a head-in goal from junior forward Colin Phillips, which came off a direct kick from junior midfielder Filip Velasevic. The direct kick came after sophomore forward Ryan Merrifield was hit hard from an Oakland defenseman in the offensive zone, which resulted in a yellow card for the Grizzlies.
Coach Chase Brooks said the Dukes were able to push through due to extra energy that the Grizzlies were lacking.
“All preseason we’ve pushed very hard, and talked to the guys about pushing through their boundaries,” Brooks said. “You could see both teams were fatigued, Oakland played 120 minutes Friday night, and we had a good battle as well. Both teams had some fatigue, and I think us having a little bit extra in the tank is really a lot of what helped us [win].”
Sophomore goalie Sam Frymier picked up his second shutout of the season with five saves on 12 Oakland shots, but attributed the win as a team effort.
“We kept it pretty solid in the back end,” Frymier said. “The team just worked for each other and in the end it just came down to who put away their first chance.”
Throughout the entire overtime period, the Dukes pushed the Grizzlies back into their zone to gain momentum and dominate the field, never once having the Grizzlies cross over into the Dukes’ zone.
Phillips said that this is the closest he has seen the men’s soccer team and that they’re riding momentum at this point in the season.
“I think you can just see from the celebration after the goal how much it means to everybody, how much of a good time we’re having this year,” Phillips said. “That energy, that kind of good feeling is going through practice this week, going into our game this week. We’re riding the energy right now, it’s fantastic.”
The Dukes had two players, junior Josh Ellis and sophomore Alex Healion, pick up their first collegiate goals on Friday showing just how deep the Red & Blue’s roster is.
“I think all those guys, if they hadn’t had their opportunity last year, they would just sit and watch,” Frymier said. “They were hungry to get and make the most of their chances, and just step up and take it.”
“I think it’s the dynamic of just how deep our team is this year,” he said. “The fact that there are players on the bench who can easily step in and take other players’ positions. It forces players to step up and show that they deserve a spot on the field.”
The Dukes play tomorrow against Howard University at 7 p.m. at Rooney Field in the Duquesne Invitational and conclude the Invitational with a match against the Incarnate Word on Sunday.