Robbie Grill | Staff Writer
Nov. 10, 2022
The Duquesne men’s soccer team fell to Loyola of Chicago 1-0 in Wednesday night’s Atlantic 10 Conference semifinal contest at Rooney Field.
The goal came on a 59th-minute strike from Marc Torrellas that deflected off of Dukes keeper Domenic Nascimben’s hands. The assist came from John Gates.
After the final whistle blew, and despondent Dukes fell to their knees, a record crowd of over 1,000 offered them a standing ovation.
“It just wasn’t our night,” Duquesne Head Coach Chase Brooks said. “We really couldn’t break them down or create enough opportunities on goal. If you can’t create enough opportunities on goal, you always know you are going to have a long night.”
The Ramblers were in control most of the night, not allowing the Duquesne offense to start its build-up play. When the Ramblers got the ball, they were very aggressive with it.
Loyola of Chicago out shot Duquesne 21 to 13, with the Ramblers guiding six of their shots on target. The Dukes only put one shot on target.
Another big difference was in corner kicks. The Ramblers benefitted from 15 corner kicks, while the Dukes only managed seven.
Nascimben — the fifth-year graduate player who played his last game in the Duquesne kit — kept it closer than the shot ratio would suggest, thanks to a few strong saves.
“I just told [Nascimben and the other seniors] ‘thank you’,” Brooks said. “They’ve been a big part in the turnaround and helping us continue to grow the program into what it’s been the last couple years.”
Following the loss, Nascimben sat down on the turf to take it all in. Players and staff members comforted him with fist bumps, hugs and conversation.
This year, the team won the most games in program history with 11.
The record number of wins already has Brooks looking toward the future to see what he can do to make the team even better.
“[The success] is all beneficial,” Brooks said. “It’s all positives within our culture, and the characters we have on the squad that allow us to drive forward will help to continue recruiting in like-minded individuals who are going to help us compete and win.”
Thirteen of the Dukes’ players are from overseas, no small feat in A-10 soccer. Brooks has been notable for his willingness to recruit out of country, and the results are paying dividends.
It was clear by all the faces on the field after the game that this was a season to be proud of, even though the end result wasn’t what they had hoped for.
The Dukes have not won the A-10 since they three-peated from 2003 to 2005.
“Pittsburgh loves winners,” Brooks said.
The team that he is building is poised to consistently win the A-10 and compete with teams like Saint Louis and VCU each year.
Even though the team records may be better and the championship runs may be a bit deeper, the men’s team this year was still unique.
“We’ve got guys that have been in this program for a long time, and guys that have seen it when it has not been as high as a standard as we would’ve liked,” Brooks said. “The guys that will still be here will be guys who are used to winning them, so that’s exciting as well. We’ll lose a little bit of age and experience, but we’re gaining a huge winning culture from this season and last season.”
Only two of the 17 players on the field tonight for the Dukes were graduate players or seniors.
A significant aspect of this program has been the level of turnover in terms of bringing in new players. For the 2020 season, the Dukes brought in 15 new players. For 2021, the Dukes brought in nine players.
Something that Brooks kept emphasizing was ‘culture’.
He said that he’s seen a significant change in Duquesne’s soccer culture since he took over a decade ago.
“To do what we’ve done the last two seasons in particular has been absolutely fantastic,” Brooks said.