Dukes down Explorers in A-10 battle at Rooney Field

Marie Jubert | The Duquesne Duke

The Duquesne men’s soccer team played in an evenly matched game on Sunday against La Salle, but the squad’s ability to attack in the first half facilitated the 3-1 win for the Dukes. Following a 1-0 overtime loss against Dayton on the road on Friday night, the team was able to bounce back against the Explorers to secure a win and improve to 3-3 in the Atlantic 10.

The Dukes dominated from the start of the game, and cruised to their first goal in the 13th minute of play when senior forward Kadeem Pantophlet scored the first of his two goals. Sophomore midfielder Dorian Kouame assisted on a corner kick that Pantophlet deflected into the upper right panel of the net.

The Explorers answered with a goal of their own in the 22nd minute of the game, but the Dukes quickly regained the lead just three minutes later.

Pantophlet scored his second goal of the day in the 25th minute. Senior forward Karter Sell and Kouame assisted before Pantophlet buried a shot from eight yards out.

Pantophlet has scored seven goals this season and is the team’s leading scorer. He explained that the team’s strategy each game is to try to beat the opponent.

“Our strategy is to win. We lost the last game and we need to win the next three games, for sure,” Pantophlet said.

Coach Chase Brooks was confident in his team’s chances from the begining.

“Every game is different, I believe that the game was there for us from the beginning,” he said.

The Dukes added another tally to the scoreboard shortly after their second goal. Kouame scored the third goal on an assist from Fredrik Borenstein from 10 yards out in the 29th minute. Kouame was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for his performances against both Davidson on Friday and La Salle on Sunday. Kouame is the third member of the team to win this award this season. He is one goal away from tying Duquesne’s single-season assists record, which is nine.

From there, the Dukes battled to secure the win.

In the second half, the match took an increasingly physical turn. The Dukes continued to play with intensity and remained calm and collected during some heated moments on the field.

Coach Brooks was proud of how the team handled this aspect of the game.

“Well, today things easily could have boiled over,” he said. “We would like to see the refs take more control; however, no one got taken off the field.”

Pantophlet also believes that the team handled the intensity and aggressive nature of the game in a respectable manner. In response to the increased physicality of the game he said that the team was simply remained focused on the game.

“We needed to keep our mind in it, things can get out of hand; and sometimes it’s best to keep our mouths shut,” Pantophlet said.

Junior goalkeeper Sam Frymier believed that the team was able to play well from a defensive end just as well as from the offensive front. For Frymier, concentration over a full 90 minutes was imperative.

“We needed to stay focused for the full 90 minutes,” Frymier said. “We kept the talk up and I have confidence in the back four. We’re fine in the back of the net, usually; today we gave away set pieces, however. We need to continue to start each game strong.”

The team is hoping to finish out the season strong as only two games remain in the regular season. As long as the team sticks to what they do best, the Dukes are confident that they will be able to have a strong performance in the A-10 Championship.

“We’re there. We can play with anyone and we are at the point where it is about the little things. Today wasn’t the prettiest, but we finished,” Brooks said.

“We need to stick to what we do, focus on us…to a certain degree, of course. We just need to do us,” Pantophlet said.

The Dukes are on the road this Friday to take on Fordham in the Bronx. The team returns on Sunday to Rooney Field, where they will play Rhode Island on Senior Day in the final home game of the season.