MSOC looks to build on historic season

Brentato Yamane | Multimedia Editor | Duquesne striker Nate Dragisich manuevers around the goalkeeper during a scrimmage

Matthew Theodros | Staff Writer

Following a historic season, the 2023 Duquesne men’s soccer team seeks to improve on its success.

In 2022, the team finished with a record of 11-4-4, its best under Head Coach Chase Brooks. The squad was hitting on all cylinders, making it to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship semifinals where they fell to Loyola Chicago.

“For a lack of a better phrase, we took our foot off the gas,” Brooks said.

“More of a mentality than anything else. It’s about keeping our standards high at all times with no let-up.”

Despite the loss, that experience helped reestablish a winning culture at Duquesne as the program reaches for bigger goals.

“As long as you have the right mentality, you have the opportunity for growth,” Brooks said. “Experience is experience, whether positive or negative helps us understand where we need to be.”

The Duquesne men’s soccer team is set to begin its season on the road with two games at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Invitational. Matchups against James Madison and Virginia Tech set the tone for what will be an exciting season.

“The start of the season is awesome as well, especially with this tournament,” Brooks said. “Two very good teams who are going to help us set the tone. Win, lose, or draw we learn something about ourselves and prepare for conference play.”

The 2023 roster returns many familiar faces from last year who are ready to improve and contribute to winning play. Brooks emphasized the importance of locker room culture and how that works hand in hand with successful habits.

“They are all great character guys,” Brooks said. “They are all hard workers and that’s the crux of how we start everything and establish trust.”

Duquesne has players ready to embrace their role to succeed. Coach Brooks spoke about players hungry to make their mark and the potential to break out this upcoming season.

“You look at some of the guys who have transferred in and see a bright future,” Brooks said. “Grant McIntosh and Sam Bennett have shown some good moments in preseason.

“Those guys who haven’t had the opportunity in the past to make as big of an impact came in with the right mentality and have been working hard.”

One of those players is Ask Ekeland. Ekeland had a remarkable freshman year where he led the team in points while making First-Team A-10.

“If you put some stats in front of him and show his deficiencies he will listen,” Brooks said. “That championship loss lit a fire under him, and he has come back primed for a better season than last fall.

“It’s about those little moments where you dig in on the individual and figure out what they can do to improve,” Brooks said. “You look at a guy like Jayden Da who was injured last year but has all the potential in the world. I am excited to see where all these guys can go.”

The Dukes have an opportunity to avenge last year’s loss to Loyola Chicago on Sept. 23. The 1-0 loss still stings, but is something the team uses as motivation to reach new heights.

“You always want to get the team that knocked you out of the tournament. Going there [to Chicago] is going to be fun, especially getting that shot back at them.”

Another key matchup is on Oct. 17 against the University of Pittsburgh. Duquesne enters the matchup having lost five consecutive games in the inter-city rivalry.

“It’s always going to be a fun one when you play against Pitt,” Brooks said. “We are so close proximity-wise and with the unbelievable resources they have, if we can continue to chip away at what they got, that will be a huge one.”

Brooks emphasized last season’s elite defensive preformance by highlighting set principles.

“We want to be tough on the defensive side of the ball,” Brooks said.

“Being able to defend hard, work hard, and bring that intensity every time we step on the field is a non-negotiable. As we look forward, I want to see us expand our play and take it to the next level.”

Duquesne will kick off its home season on Aug. 31 against Bowling Green.