By Sam Noel | The Duquesne Duke
In a hard fought defensive game, the now 1-3-0 Duquesne men’s soccer team fell 1-0 to Cleveland State at Rooney Field on Sunday in the final game of the Duquesne Invitational tournament.
CSU’s Hesham Hammouda’s lone goal in the 15th minute of the first half off of a well-placed ball from Kareem Banton was all that was needed for the Vikings to come out on top. Duquesne senior goalkeeper Sam Frymier did his best to get a hand on the shot, but Hammouda’s tally was more than enough after it deflected off Frymier and into the Dukes’ net.
The Cleveland State goal forced the Dukes to try to respond quickly, but in the end, they weren’t able to equalize.
“Obviously when you go down a goal it’s always tough, but it’s always good to just keep the ball, make the team chase a little bit, but you don’t want to give away possession early, you just want to keep it,” redshirt sophomore defender Cody Wells said.
From the start of the game, the Vikings of Cleveland State had the majority of the possession and put pressure on the Duquesne defense as well as on the Dukes when they had control of the ball. It took about 15 minutes into the match for Duquesne to get its first solid spell of possession.
It was certainly a game of two halves, as the Vikings dominated most of the first with possession and pressure on the Dukes’ defenders when they had control of the ball. But, in the second half, Duquesne looked to equalize, as they had the majority of the chances.
The Dukes had their opportunities in the second but just couldn’t get on the end of passes and register a shot on goal. Cleveland State executed its second half game plan well, as the team seemed to sit back, happy with the 1-0 lead, and defend for the win.
It was another tough loss for the Dukes, considering they were coming off of a heart-breaking 3-2 loss in overtime to nationally ranked No.12 Oregon State on Friday. It would’ve arguably been one of the program’s biggest wins in its history.
“I think just all around every single person just was missing something in particular,” redshirt senior Colin Phillips said after the game. “Our heads, maybe, weren’t in it after [the loss to Oregon State]. I’m not sure.”
Frymier felt something was missing in the final third of the Duquesne attack.
“I think we just came out flat today,” Frymier said. “We couldn’t really get anything organized going offensively. [We] felt like a lot of what we were doing was passing it around the back, and nothing really opened up for us and when it did, we just didn’t have the quality in the final third.”
Cleveland State freshman Kareem Banton controlled most of the game with his pace and ability to close down any Duquesne passing lane. He also took the majority of the Vikings’ set pieces. When asked how the Dukes responded to his play, Colin Phillips said he was certainly an influence.
“We talked about him a little bit in the scouting report,” said Phillips. “The plan was to treat him just like anyone else on their team. We weren’t so much trying to keep him off the ball, but any time they wanted to get on the ball we wanted to be there and apply some pressure.”
The Dukes will try to rebound from the loss as they travel to Ithaca, New York to take on the Cornell Big Red on Friday at 7 p.m. The team will be out of town until Oct. 3.