Men’s soccer struggling but remains optimistic

Bryanna McDermott/Asst. Photo Editor | Duquesne’s men’s soccer team lines up for the national anthem prior to a match.

David Borne | Staff Writer

10/05/2017

After getting off to a slow start in non-conference play, the Duquesne men’s soccer team is trying to find their groove in Atlantic 10 action. Coming off a 3-1 win in their conference opener against La Salle on Sept. 30, the Dukes looked to keep up their success against A-10 counterpart Saint Louis on Wednesday night.

The Billikens, however, dominated much of the match and came out with a 3-0 win over Duquesne on Wednesday night.

The contest started out slow offensively, as neither team was able to find any rhythm in the opening half. Duquesne (3-7-1, 1-1-0) was held without a shot on goal, and though the Billikens recorded 11 first half shots, just one was on target.

For Duquesne, the pace of play remained slow following the break. Conversely, things began to click for Saint Louis in the second half. In the 60th minute, redshirt freshman Keaton Schieffer was able to beat Duquesne keeper Robbie McKelvey, scoring match’s first talley for the Billikens.

Things only went downhill from there for the Dukes, as Saint Louis added another in the 80th minute after Lennart Hein was fouled in the box by Duquesne defenseman Jack Bessey, resulting in an awarded penalty kick opportunity. Hein, the leading goal scorer for Saint Louis, fired a shot by a diving McKelvey, extended the lead to two.

Six minutes later, senior Duncan Corbett caught the Dukes off guard by ripping a shot from just inside the box over McKelvey and into the top corner of the cage. McKelvey recorded four saves in the 3-0 loss.

Saint Louis (3-5-1, 1-1-0) was selected to finish second in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll. The Billikens played a strong non-conference schedule in the season’s opening month, and even recorded a win over No. 5 Stanford.

The Saint Louis back line held Duquesne to just eight shots overall, and the Dukes were without a shot for the first 81 minutes of the contest. Despite the final score, coach Chase Brooks was able to commend the way his team played the first 45 minutes against a strong Saint Louis team.

“We’ve continued to show that we can defend against the top teams. You have to tip your hat for two of their goals, they were both very good strikes. The other goal, the PK; maybe, maybe not. It’s the ref’s decision and that’s fine,” Brooks said.

“We just have to continue to learn. As we’ve said, it’s a team that has played one of the toughest Division I schedules in the nation in SLU. They’re a well-battled and tested team. We just have to learn from this one and move on,” he added.

Duquesne will have a few days to make adjustments following the loss before they head to Amherst to take on another tough conference foe in UMass. The Minutemen sit with a record of 7-2-2, and defeated Saint Louis in their A-10 opener.

While Duquesne has stumbled out of the gate, there’s still plenty of time left in the season for the Red & Blue to get back on the right page and make some noise in conference play.

However, they will be faced with challenges. Four of their remaining six games will come on the road. Road games have plagued the Dukes all season, as they are currently 0-4-1 in matches away from Rooney Field.

A big factor in Duquesne’s success will be how much their offense is able to produce. A team needs goals to win, and the Dukes have been held to one goal or less in seven matches this season. Sophomores Jallah Acqui and Zach Hall, as well as senior Jason Twum, lead the Dukes with three goals each this season.

Though the trio has already played a big role in the Dukes’ few wins this year, they will need to continue to produce in order to win some conference games. With a team that has struggled to score, the Dukes can’t afford to have any of those three struggle to score in the latter half of the season if they’re to right this proverbial ship.

Production from other spots wouldn’t hurt the Dukes’ prospects going forward, either.

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