Addie Smith | Sports Editor
Duquesne athlete Kadeem Pantophlet took the field Wednesday for the Dukes but it wasn’t for the basketball team, and he likely won’t be taking the court again.
Pantophlet, a sophomore who played forward for the basketball team, instead suited up for the soccer team, helping them to 0-0 draw against Division II Mercyhurst at Rooney Field in spring training play.
Pantophlet said that he joined the soccer team after basketball Coach Jim Ferry cut his scholarship.
“I didn’t choose [to join the men’s soccer team], coach [Ferry] told me after the season that he was not going to renew my scholarship for basketball,” Pantophlet said. “I like Duquesne, I love Duquesne. I just wanted to stay here. I played soccer when I was younger and talked to Coach [Chase] Brooks right away to see what opportunities he could give me to stay here and play. He had me come for a tryout and he liked what he saw and I made the team.”
Brooks said that Pantophlet approached him about joining the team and said that he has a future with the soccer team.
“Kadeem approached me a couple weeks ago saying he was interested in coming out for the team and the opportunity presented itself,” Brooks said. “I knew he had a background in the sport and obviously being international, the culture that grows up with it. I was happy to take a look at him and from there we’ve obviously seen stuff that we’ve liked. We think he’s got a very bright future with the men’s soccer program.”
Pantophlet said that he won’t continue as a dual-sport athlete, but rather focus his time on soccer.
“Coach [Ferry] was very clear that he didn’t want me on the team anymore, as well as other players,” Pantophlet said. “So, I don’t think it’s smart to stay with somebody who doesn’t want you. So no, there’s no chance that I’m going to be playing basketball here.”
This was Pantophlet’s second spring training game starting as a forward for the Dukes and he was given soon-to-be-graduate Joshua Patterson’s old jersey and No. 10. Prior to the game, Pantophlet declared that he was going to score a goal, but the opportunity did not present itself.
Pantophlet said that not scoring his first goal for the Dukes hurt, but he know his time will come eventually.
“I just wanted to do it [score my first goal] for many reasons,” Pantophlet said. “I didn’t really get the opportunity to do it, but I always expect a lot from myself and maybe tonight it was a little bit too much, but I just wanted to score that goal and I know I will sooner or later.”
An impending thunderstorm cut short the first half with 1:39 remaining as the coaches and referees started halftime early to wait out the storm for 15 minutes. Throughout the first half, lightning could be seen over the Washington Plaza Apartments, College Hall and the Steel Tower. However, it wasn’t until the storm was directly over Rooney Field that action was taken.
The Mercyhurst Lakers were coming off a prolific fall season in which they advanced to the Final Four of the Division II NCAA tournament and won their conference.
Brooks said that he was proud of the way the Red and Blue played against the Lakers and that the Dukes found their groove in the second half.
“I’m happy with the performance,” Brooks said. “Every game as a coach inheriting a new team you’re looking for little things. What are the little things? Are they doing it right? I think even from the first half to the second half we saw our pressure increase and we connected a few more passes … Again, good result tonight and I thought we had better chances to finish, but it just wasn’t to be tonight.”
Sophomore midfielder Austin Lange has returned to the field after an injury sat him out the majority of the 2012 fall season. Lange was presented with the opportunity for a goal late in the second half, but narrowly missed the goal.
Lange said that though the opportunities presented themselves, he shook off missed chances to continue hard play and attempt to score a goal.
“I think during a game you’re going to get chances here and there – everybody gets a couple – you have to try to capitalize,” Lange said. “The keeper made some good saves, he does his job and cuts down the angle, but I mean after each [chance] you have to have a short term memory, shake it off and go onto the next one.”
The Dukes have three more games remaining in spring training play, including a double-header at Carnegie Mellon this Sunday where they will play CMU and Slippery Rock University. The spring season will then conclude next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Rooney Field against University of California (Pa.).