MSOC remains undefeated through six games

Peter Boettger | Staff Photographer | Duquesne’s Maxi Hopfer fights for positioning against Howard’s Asong Nkemanjong in the Dukes’ 7-0 win over the Bison on Saturday. Hopfer played for 53 minutes, while also scoring a goal in the victory.

Brentaro Yamane | Layout/Multimedia Editor

Sept. 15, 2022

After the Duquesne’s men’s soccer team defeated Howard 7-0 on Saturday night at Rooney Field, the team snapped its road winning streak at three and its season-opening winning streak at five on Tuesday night, finishing in a 1-1 draw at Wright State.

However, the Dukes are still undefeated at 5-0-1, and it’s only the fourth time in school history that the team has started the season without a loss in their first six games.

A big reason for the success has been Domenic Nascimben, who’s started every game as goalkeeper for the Dukes this season, and he has played at a high level.

Through the first six games, the team has allowed just two goals.

He has already earned honors this year. Nascimben was named to the College Soccer News Men’s National Team of the Week (week ending Aug. 28), as well as being honored as the Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Week and as Top Drawer Soccer Men’s National Team of the Week this past week.

Nascimben, a graduate student, has recorded four shutouts this season, which is the most he has recorded in a season since joining the team in 2018. He posted a career-high 11 saves in the win against Howard.

After only recording three wins in his first three seasons, Nascimben took a big step last year. At 10-7-2, he helped the Dukes reach the A-10’s championship game against Saint Louis. While the spotlight hasn’t always been on him in his career, that’s starting to change. He’s worked hard to get to where he is today, winning games and receiving national attention.

“You just mature, and you learn from your mistakes. And I think, my time here [at Duquesne] has been amazing,” Nascimben said. “I’ve had some patches here. I’ve had to work very hard. I think that set me up for a lot of success, in my opinion.

“You always want to be better every single day. And I think they’re the biggest things that push me that I know. At the end of the day, I feel like I have the talent. It’s just [that] I need to make sure I continue to work hard.”

Not only has Nascimben had an excellent start, but his teammates around him have also been consistent. The Dukes have scored 14 goals this season from nine different players, showing that the team has solid depth and that everyone is getting involved. That’s a standard that Head Coach Chase Brooks has his players live up to.

“We’ve got 35 guys on this roster, and a number of them could be starters at multiple NCAA Division I institutions”, Brooks said. “So, we’re in a very fortunate situation. It’s about keeping everybody as motivated as possible and knowing that, again, injuries might happen.

“Everybody’s got to be ready for when they get their moments. And so far, the guys are stepping up and doing their job.”

Nascimben has admitted that he tries every day to become more of a vocal leader, and that has helped him build a better relationship with his teammates.

“I’ll be honest, being more vocal is something I really want to work on as a leader. I think every goalkeeper needs to be a strong vocal leader,” Nascimben said. “So that’s something I’ve worked on a lot with the coaches.

“And the best part about it is, I have an incredible back five in front of me who continuously work tirelessly to make sure they’re blocking, getting in the way of things and making my job a lot easier. It means a lot.”

The Dukes begin A-10 action on Saturday night, when they host Loyola of Chicago at Rooney Field. It will mark the first game as a member of the conference for the Ramblers, who moved to the A-10 in July after a sustained stint in the Missouri Valley Conference.

After the Dukes fell just short in the 2021 conference title game, all that is on the team’s mind is finishing this season on top.

“We set some awesome goals looking forward. We want to win the conference, and that has to be something we need to set big,” Nascimben said. “Back in the day, we just wanted to make the playoffs for the Atlantic 10.

“It’s different now, so we set the goal that we really want to win the conference. And getting so close last year, I think now we really set the foundation to where we want to be in the future, and we have a great group of boys who want to win.”