Pat Higgins | Sports Editor
The Red & Blue turned in a pair of clutch performances against Binghamton and Bowling Green this weekend in the Duquesne Invitational at Rooney Field.
On Friday night, sophomore defender Mamadou Traore tapped in his first goal as a Duke in the 79th minute to break a 2-2 tie amid a bevy of chaos inside the Binghamton box which gave the Red & Blue a 3-2 victory. He joined fellow first-year players Nigel Seidu and Fredrik Borenstein in the scoring attack in the most opportune moment.
Binghamton forward Alex Varkatzaz gave his team a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. Two minutes later, Seidu knotted the game at one on a pass from junior defender Nick DiSomma. The Dukes again found themselves trailing after Binghamton midfielder Tommy Moon scored on a cross with one minute remaining in the first half to give BU a 2-1 lead. Borenstein gathered a rebound following a corner kick in the 53rd minute to tie things up at 2-2.
The Dukes outshot Binghamton 19-5 and opened up a 14-2 advantage in corner kicks. Senior goalkeeper Sam Frymier earned the win in net.
On Sunday afternoon, Borenstein scored again, this time for the game-winner in the 105th minute of overtime, to give the Dukes another 3-2 victory and finish the weekend undefeated on the Bluff. He received a pass from freshman midfielder Thor Beckdahl and found a way to finish against the Bowling Green defense. He and senior forward Austin Lange are tied for the team lead in goals with three each.
Senior forward Kadeem Pantophlet and sophomore midfielder Dorian Douame scored in the 32nd and 56th minutes, respectively, to give the Dukes a commanding 2-0 lead. But Bowling Green found a way to fight back and tied the game on a penalty kick in the 88th minute.
Bowling Green provided more of a challenge than Binghamton, but the Dukes still managed to outshoot the Falcons 14-13.
Head coach Chase Brooks was pleased with the way his team fought against quality non-conference opponents in two closely contested matches.
“We learned a lot about who we were,” he said. “We learned how to fight and how to win games that were close and that were tight. The guys worked really hard. [Against] Bowling Green we let a team back in that was very good. We didn’t put them away early but we still closed at the end.”
He was especially pleased with the way the freshman Borenstein, who was named tournament MVP and the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, has found ways to make an impact so quickly.
“Fredrik’s been doing very well,” he said. “He’s taking advantage of the minutes that he’s gotten. He’s been very dangerous getting to the right place at the right time and he’s just continued to elevate his game.”
The Dukes will head to Oregon this weekend to play two road exhibitions in the Hensor/Zaher Nike Classic. They will face off against Portland on Friday at 5 p.m. and then head to Corvallis for a match against Oregon State on Sunday at 3 p.m. after a road game against Wright State on Sept. 19, the Red & Blue will return to action on the Bluff against University of Buffalo at 1 p.m. on Sept. 21.