Drew White | Staff Writer
Feb. 28, 2019
On Wednesday afternoon, Duquesne had the chance to open its season 3-0 for the first time since 1999, and it certainly didn’t squander the opportunity to do so. The Dukes dominated Saint Francis (Pa.) from start to finish at Arthur J. Rooney Field, taking the contest 17-2.
The Dukes continued their impressive play over the first month of the season as they followed up their road win at Butler Feb. 14 with an impressive performance over the Red Flash (0-3).
The hiatus in between games was because inclement weather last week forced a Feb. 20 game against No. 10-ranked Penn State to be postponed. However, the long break certainly didn’t seem to faze the Dukes as they shook off the cobwebs and got on the board early.
The Dukes opened up the game’s scoring just 1:26 in as Haley Matthai netted the first of her three goals. Then, Megan Buettner got on the board, followed by Matthai’s second, forcing the Red Flash to use a timeout just 4:20 into the opening half, already down 3-0.
After nearly five minutes of offensive firepower, the Dukes once again beat starting goalkeeper Ashley Stoessel and the floodgates opened. After the media timeout following the fourth goal of the game, the Dukes scored six more, including two from Rilee Bradshaw who had a game-high five goals on the day. Matthai’s hat-trick goal, before the second media timeout of the half and with 9:51 remaining, helped the Dukes to a 10-0 lead.
The Dukes closed out the half up 14-0 leaving first-year head coach Corinne Desrosiers pleased with the performance.
“The first half especially, we played with a lot of cohesion and that really carried us through,” said Desrosiers. “It was really great during that first half, and we lost it a bit in the second half as we started to sub more players in.”
The pressure from the Dukes, especially in the first half, was something that was evident to the naked eye and also showed in the box score. The Dukes held the Red Flash without a shot in the first half while recording 23 shots on goal of their own, putting 14 in the back of the net and forcing two changes in between the pipes.
“Early in the season we are focusing on ourselves,” Desrosiers said. “We want to get our feet under us, we want to get a shot off in 11 seconds or less, we are looking to get on their hands on defense and apply a lot of pressure out there.”
The defensive pressure was there all game as the Dukes forced 17 turnovers and the Red Flash turned the ball over a total of 40 times, including an abysmal 12-for-26 clear success rate.
The second half was much closer for the Red Flash as they found some stability in net with freshman Elyssa Enrique, who recorded nine saves on 12 shots in the last 30 minutes of the game.
Perhaps the nicest goal of the game also occurred in the second half as Duquesne’s Maddie Hart was able to beat Enrique with a backhand shovel shot as she was turned with her back toward the goal to put the Dukes up 15-0.
The Red Flash were able to tack on two goals in the second half by Livia Baker and Autumn McHenry, but it wasn’t close to enough as the Dukes were able to hold them in check.
The two goals allowed were the fewest DU has conceded since it topped Saint Francis 19-2 on March 11, 2015.
Bradshaw had five goals for the Dukes, while Matthai, Buettner and Hart each recorded three.
The Dukes now shift their focus toward Detroit Mercy, who DU will host this Sunday at noon at Arthur J. Rooney Field.