Men’s soccer wins regular-season home finale

Brentaro Yamane | Staff Writer | Duquesne’s Ryan Landry (No. 17) anticipates a pass during a Sept. 25 victory over La Salle. Landry and Maxi Hopfer were among the Dukes’ regular starters who didn’t play in Tuesday’s win.

Spencer Thomas | Staff Writer

Oct. 28, 2021

The Duquesne men’s soccer team snuck past Wright State, 2-1, in Tuesday’s non-conference contest at Rooney Field after a self-inflicted error by Wright State in the game’s final minutes.

With the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament quickly approaching, Head Coach Chase Brooks saw the game as an opportunity to rest some regular starters. Leading scorer Maxi Hopfer was absent from the lineup, with his minutes being split among reserve players.

Players braved the rainy, windy, 48-degree night with gloves and long sleeves, but the offenses took a while to warm up, and the teams entered the locker room at halftime in a scoreless deadlock.

Despite the lack of goals, the first half was not without its moments. After feeling each other out for roughly the first 10 minutes, Duquesne was able to spark some offense. In the 11th minute, Luke Alese scorched a shot from 15 yards out that banged off the goal’s right post.

The Dukes’ offensive pressure continued throughout the half, resulting in a pair of corner kicks and a total of eight shots. However, only one required Raiders goalkeeper Sebastian Jimenez to make a save.

After not getting a single shot off in the game’s first 25 minutes, the Raiders began to show some signs of life.

Wright State Head Coach Jake Slemker removed all four of his starting forwards from the game with 16 minutes to go before halftime, hoping to ignite his offense. The offense was finally able to connect some passes in the final third and managed seven shots and a corner kick before the break.

The best opportunity for the Raiders came with two minutes remaining in the half. A perfectly touched through pass sent Wright State forward Joe Kouadio in on goal with little resistance. Duquesne’s Eric Zech attempted to turn away the attack and, despite being backed up against his own goal, extended for a tackle and cleared the ball from Kouadio. It was a goal-saving play on the defensive end.

Once the second half kicked off, the offenses began to exchange chances (and goals).

Nearly 11 minutes into the second half, Wright State’s Alex Hummel ran it down the right side before finding Reece Allbaugh with an outswinging cross. As he was mere yards from the goal, all Allbaugh had to do was lightly deflect the ball and put it in the back of the net.

Wright State’s lead was short-lived, however. Just under two minutes later, Duquesne’s Ryan Goodhew stepped up to the corner flag and launched the ball to the six-yard box at the middle of the goal. Jordy Lopez broke from his man, found some space and aimed a header toward the bottom-left corner of the net. He made perfect contact, curving the ball away from the outstretched gloves of Jimenez.

Lopez had only played 48 minutes all season prior to Tuesday’s game, but that move gave him his first-career goal, while also helping the Dukes even the score at 1.

“We practice set pieces a lot,” Lopez said. “I saw the ball come in, almost like slow motion, and got lucky with a goal.”

Both teams continued to trade opportunities throughout the remainder of the game, but neither could break the tie.

At least that was the case until there was just 1:30 remaining on the clock.

Duquesne’s Kendall Newman stole the ball from a Raiders midfielder and led Jordan Livits up the right side with a beautiful feed. Livits followed the pass and hurdled an attempted slide tackle before collecting the ball and turning toward the goal.

From the end corner of the six-yard box, he aimed to send a cross on the ground to Lopez. Another Raider defender slid in, aiming to break up the cross. Instead, he deflected it into his own goal, giving Duquesne a 2-1 lead with 1:15 remaining.

Like Lopez, Livits had played sparingly throughout the season. Nonetheless, he also made his minutes count.

The Dukes were able to run out the clock and secure the victory. It was not lost on Brooks that his two goal scorers logged a combined 90 minutes of playing time prior to Tuesday’s win.

“I give those two credit because they’ve battled, and they’ve worked hard all season,” Brooks said. “[They] put themselves into position to have those moments tonight, so that was nice to see.”

Duquesne finished its home slate with a 7-0-1 record. It marks the fourth undefeated campaign at Rooney Field in program history and the first since 2011.

In its last regular-season game before potentially earning a spot in the conference tournament, Duquesne will wrap up A-10 play with a game at Dayton on Saturday.