By David Borne | Staff Writer
In the final regular season game of the 2016 Duquesne men’s soccer campaign, the Dukes fell to Rhode Island by a score of 2-1 — their first and only home loss at Rooney Field all season.
It wasn’t quite the sendoff the five seniors, Evan Kozlowski, Gabe Robinson, Diego Vieira, Chris Alescio and Bryan Fegley, probably had in mind, but even with the result, the Red & Blue secured a spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament as the No. 7 seed.
Rhode Island was the first to strike in the contest, as a free kick from freshman Peder Kristiansen reached Tyler Dickson, who was able to head the ball over goalkeeper Evan Kozlowski.
The Dukes offense again struggled to get on the board in the first half despite outshooting URI 12-2, and they were unable to score a first half goal for the 15th time this season.
On Senior Night for the Red & Blue, the seniors made the most of their final game on the Bluff. Senior midfielder Brian Fegley knotted the score at 1-1 on a penalty kick in the game’s 50th minute.
Fegley spoke about how much his last home game with the Dukes meant to him after the game.
“I have a lot of great memories on this field, a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears,” Fegley said. “We practice here everyday, and since I’ve played all four years here, it was a very special moment. I ended up scoring a goal so it was a good night for me, but as a team, we’re just trying to get everybody to move forward and focus on the A-10 tournament.”
Fegley was not the only senior that made an impact in his final game regular season game with the Dukes. Evan Kozlowski ended the night with two saves and finished off what was a sensational year for him in goal as he registered a 0.86 goals allowed average for the season and accumulated 57 saves.
The Dukes and Rams needed two overtime periods to settle the score, but the Rhode Island Rams were eventually able to take down the Duquesne Dukes as a shot from Stavros Zarokostas deflected off Aleksander Christensson and sailed past Evan Kozlowski for the golden goal.
The Dukes have become quite accustomed to playing longer than the standard 90 minutes this season. This game against URI marked the 11th game for Duquesne this season that went into extra time, which could serve them well come the postseason.
Duquesne struggled on the offensive end of the field virtually the entire year — never scoring more than two goals in a game. On the opposite end, the Red & Blue boasted one of the impenetrable defenses in the A-10 conference, allowing just 16 goals on the year and notching nine shutouts.
Duquesne will head to Davidson, North Carolina to participate in the tournament from Nov. 10-13. Their first challenge will be the Fordham Rams, who torched the Dukes 5-0 in regular season play, accounting for their largest defeat of the year. Duquesne will need to rely on its defense and senior goalkeeper throughout the tournament, limiting opponents to low scoring outputs.
Fegley believes the Dukes are not done yet, and definitely have the potential to make some noise in the tournament.
“We’re going to be coming at teams 100 percent,” Fegley said. “The girls’ team won it all there last year; it’s got some luck for us there. You should expect 100 percent effort, giving everything that we have, and for us to have a good tournament down there.”