Dukes win season opener against Howard

Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor
Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor

Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

The Duquesne women’s lacrosse team dominated their season opener. The Dukes began their season with an overwhelming 22-4 win at Rooney Field over the Howard Bison (0-2) on Wednesday.

The Dukes were determined to start off strong after a disappointing end to their season last year. The Dukes fought through the Atlantic 10 tournament and made it all the way to the championship game. They had a lead early in the game against Massachusetts, but they came up short in the end. That loss put them just outside of the NCAA Tournament and ended their season.

Much of the team that was there last year had on their red and blue on Wednesday.

Coach Mike Scerbo thought the win would help them move on.

“You want to get back into the winning ways. It’s a tough way to end the season last year. To end on a losing note is always tough. You want to get back into it,” he said.

The Dukes dominated every minute of the game. They scored the first goal of the game just 57 seconds into the game when Haley Marafioti, senior attacker, walked out from behind the net and buried a shot past Howard junior goalie Candace Ross.

The Dukes scored the game’s next 15 goals to push their lead to 16-0 in the first 24 minutes of play. Their defense not only held Howard scoreless for most of the first half, but they also forced 23 turnovers and only allowed 11 shots in the game. Howard was only able to convert on 7-15 clear attempts, meaning they were barely able to get the ball into the offensive zone. They took a 16-1 lead to the locker room at halftime.

It was more of the same in the second half, although the Red & Blue defense was a little more relaxed in the second half. The Dukes outscored Howard 6-3 in the second half.

Freshman midfielder Kaelin Shaw made an impact in her first game. She was second on the team with four goals. She worked well with her teammates as well because three of her four goals were assisted.

Shaw was excited about the experience.

“It was definitely great and I’m happy that my teammates were able to congratulate me because it made me feel really good. It was awesome,” she said.

Scerbo talked about the balance of freshmen and older players.

“We had such a nice balance today. Our leaders, like, Caitlin Prince and Amanda Kidder stepped up and made great plays. But then to see someone like Kaelin Shaw come into her first collegiate game and have four goals is absolutely wonderful,” he said.

Kidder, a junior midfielder, led the team with five goals and she added an assist. Her first goal of the game was a signature Kidder moment. She grabbed the ball off of the draw and drove straight to the net. Her speed caught Howard off guard and she was able to rifle home a shot from the outside line.

Scerbo admired the play, but said he expects it now.

“That coast to coast look you saw from her, you are going to see that all year. We’ll probably even see one of those plays where she takes the ball out of someone’s stick and scores at the other end. We have come to expect that out of her,” he said.

Her relationship on and off the field with fellow junior midfielder Clare Hurley has made an impact on the cohesiveness. Although Kidder and Hurley, who had two goals, didn’t link up on a goal they did put on an impressive passing display. Kidder fired a pass to Hurley without looking that set Hurley up on a nice run.

Scerbo appreciates the impact the two have on his offensive.

“Amanda and Clare work well together … they know each other inside and out. Having that chemistry between pairs of kids allows us to play the two-v-two game that will really open up our offense over the course of the game,” he said.

Kidder talked about the impact the relationship has on her.

“Me and Clare have been playing together since our high school years. We were on the same club teams. We came here to Duquesne together,” she said. “I have full confidence in Clare and I know that if I pass it to her she is going to catch it. She has the same confidence in me.”

The Dukes are excited to get to the tougher part of their non-conference schedule as they will travel to Penn State next Tuesday for the 7 p.m. game.