Sam Fatula | A&E Editor
Sunday afternoon’s preseason matchup between the Duquesne men’s soccer team and cross-town rival Univertsity of Pittsburgh was an early test for the Dukes before entering the regular season. Unfortunately for the Red & Blue, their pace and intensity would not pick up until late in the second half of the match, resulting in a tough 2-0 loss.
For the majority of the first half, Pitt readily controlled every facet of the game including time of possession, corner kicks and shots on goal. Head coach Chase Brooks was ultimately disappointed in the team’s first 45 minutes.
“I thought it was a tale of two halves really,” Brooks said. “We didn’t come out with enough energy and we were still playing at an exhibition pace.”
The box score shows just as much. Pitt outshot the Dukes in the first half 6-1. Pitt forward Kevin Angulo scored both goals for the Panthers in the 32nd and 33rd minutes as a result of sloppy play in the Dukes’ back line.
Duquesne goalkeeper Sam Frymier made an initial key save to deny Angulo, but could only deflect the shot. The rebound went straight back to Angulo, who tapped it back in. Less than a minute later, Angulo capitalized on a miscue inside the Dukes’ box to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Senior defensive midfielder Colin Phillips attributed the goals from an overall lack of focus.
“I think we just got a little complacent today,” Phillips said. “We went in thinking that all of our results were going to be like they were when we played Carnegie Mellon last week. We have a lot of new guys getting a lot of time that aren’t used to the Division I level just yet.”
The Dukes had a number of underclassmen in the starting lineup, and the inexperience showed when trying to control the midfield and organization in the back four.
Senior defenseman Nick DiSomma also mentioned a lack of depth due to some plaguing injuries.
“We definitely showed the depth of our bench today; where we might be a little stronger and where we’re weaker,” DiSomma said. “Overall, we were average at best today.”
Despite a slow first 45 minutes from the Dukes, they generated a much stronger attack in the second half and with more tactical defense. They limited the Panthers to only three shots versus the six they generated in the first, moved the ball well and fired some of their shots on net. Although they finished the exhibition with no goals, the second half performance was still an improvement from the first, especially considering the type of opponent the Panthers are.
“I think if we take the second half that we put out today and get that for the whole 90 as opposed to the second 45, we’ll be much more competitive, but we were just very reactionary today,” Brooks said.
The Dukes open their regular season on Sunday against St. Francis at 5 p.m. on Rooney Field. They’ll host Binghamton, Bowling Green and Niagara next weekend at Rooney Field in the Duquesne Invitational. After that, they’ll head to the great Northwest for two exhibitions against Portland and Oregon State on Sept. 12 and 14.
The Red & Blue will begin their Atlantic 10 schedule on Oct. 12 on the road against St. Bonaventure.
With nine returning starters from last season, the Dukes are slated to finish sixth in the conference this year, according to the annual Atlantic 10 coaches poll released on Aug. 26.
The team will hold an hour-long open tryout on Sept. 10 starting at 11 a.m for any male student interested in playing.