Sean McKean | Staff Writer
In the 2023 home opener, Duquesne recovered from a pair of one-goal deficits on their way to a 2-2 draw with Bowling Green on Thursday night.
All four goals came in a fierce first half, beginning with the Falcons getting on the board in the 18th minute. Exactly four minutes later, the Dukes equalized by virtue of a fast-break goal from forward Jayden Da.
Despite the early score not being in their favor, Duquesne Head Coach Chase Brooks felt that his team capitalized on the situation’s familiarity.
“Unfortunately, we’re used to going down by a goal this season, but I think it changed things for the better. It got the guys back into the awareness we needed, and it paid dividends later.”
The Dukes have trailed in all three games they have played this season, even last week’s 5-1 victory over Virginia Tech. They would fall behind again in the 27th minute, after an unassisted strike from Falcon defenseman Rodrigo Montez Silva.
Duquesne countered in the 43rd minute, when Zach Mowka caught the Falcon goalkeeper off his line, and slid a left-footed shot home from outside the box.
The excitement of a high-scoring first half translated to an intense second half. With every foul called, the Dukes and Falcons started to shove, push and show their displeasure with one another.
In the beginning of the second half, the Falcons peppered the Duquesne net, getting two shots on goal, both of which were saved by Duquesne goalkeeper Zoltan Nagy.
With the game remaining level at two for the rest of the match, each team started to get more and more aggressive, both squads receiving a pair of yellow cards. The tension culminated in a mini-brawl in the 79th minute, resulting in a red card for Bowling Green.
Duquesne midfielder Ask Ekeland did not disguise how he felt about that.
“It was an aggressive, tight game. We handled it really well, even though we weren’t so happy with the referee,” he said. “We kept our heads up. You see which team gets the red card and which one doesn’t, and you can inquire yourself from there.”
After the tussle, each team appeared to have calmed down, and the game slowed down to its 2-2 finish.
While Ekeland did not hold back, Brooks was more dismissive of the game’s aggressive nature.
“The game was very aggressive, but I do think that’s typical of Division I soccer,” he said. “It’s also down to the refs to take control of it, and he definitely let a little too much slide in both halves, which led to some difficulty controlling our emotions, but I thought the guys did a good job with that overall.”
The team will be back in action Sept. 9th as they travel for an evening clash with Niagara University.
“We know what we’re capable of, and now we can focus on what’s working for us and what isn’t, get down to the basics and come back to Niagara with our strongest game yet.”