Addie Smith | The Duquesne Duke
The Duquesne men’s soccer team needed a big weekend in order to qualify for the Atlantic 10 tournament and after a tie against George Mason on Friday and a 3-0 victory over Virginia Commonwealth Sunday afternoon they had it.
The four points (three for a win, one for a tie) propelled the Dukes to the sixth spot in the conference. They will take on third place VCU again Thursday at 2 p.m. If the Dukes beat the Rams, they will then move on to play in the semifinals on Friday. The tournament is being held at the University of Dayton.
Junior forward and Atlantic 10 rookie of the week Kadeem Pantophlet opened scoring 28 minutes into the game with a header on an assist from junior forward Matt Essig. The Dukes then put away two finishing goals in the final three minutes of the game, one from freshman midfielder Chris Alescio and the other from junior forward Karter Sell.
Coach Chase Brooks said the squad is ready and excited for the tournament this upcoming weekend.
“It’s a great win against a quality opponent in VCU,” Brooks said. “They played fantastic, they’re going to do a great job in the A10 tournament and we’re excited to be there with them. We’re excited to show the conference what we’re capable of.”
Pantophlet explained that this weekend will help the Dukes come tournament time.
“This was our biggest weekend,” Pantophlet said. “We had to make it happen and we did so it’s definitely a confidence booster. We feel like we can take on anybody and we just have to go prove it.”
Sophomore goaltender Sam Frymier recorded his seventh shutout and ninth win of the season as Pantophlet scored his team-leading fourth goal.
Keys to beating VCU in the A10s
The Dukes have scored 19 goals in 17 games, while the VCU Rams have scored 26 goals in 18 games, so the Red & Blue need to showcase a potent offense like they did on Sunday to compete with the Rams.
The Dukes average more shots per game (13.3) than the Rams (11.7), but don’t boast as high of a shot to goal percentage. The Rams favor in this category 12.4 to Duquesne’s 10.6 percent. The trick for the Red & Blue will be to take more shots that count.
Sam Frymier will have to be on his game and ready to win. Frymier had four saves against VCU this past Sunday and will need to keep up that stellar performance in order for the Dukes to advance to the semifinal.
Duquesne will need to shutdown VCU’s Kharlton Belmar, who leads the team with seven goals and 16 points. The Duquesne defense will need to make sure he doesn’t have the ball for too long.