Perspective: It’s an exciting time to be a Dukes fan

By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke

Some of you may have chosen to attend Duquesne for the chance to play your sport at a Division I university, or even simply to live in Pittsburgh — a city with several professional sports teams. Some, on the other hand, may have not realized Duquesne is a DI school until now.

When I first arrived at Duquesne, two big things stood out to me about Duquesne athletics. First off, I was shocked to see so many teams of ours competing in the Atlantic 10 Conference — 15. Another thing that surprised me was in fact that our school hosts several international students that specifically chose Duquesne over the other schools recruiting them. Sophomore defender Nigel Seidu moved from London just to play men’s soccer for the Dukes.

“I knew my future would be brighter due to the academic experience and the high expectations of the soccer program,” he told me. “The fact that Duquesne is located in a city, especially Pittsburgh, was another factor in my decision.”

I enjoy how the athletics department here, as well as other organizations such as the Student Government Association and The Red and Blue Crew, contribute a lot of effort into promoting our sporting events. Throughout the school year you will notice cookouts for soccer, football, basketball and lacrosse games, as well as t-shirt giveaways and raffle drawings.

Last year, during my freshman year, I was told that Duquesne football never loses at home, and for the most part that was true. The team went 5-2 on Rooney Field.

Men’s soccer attendance actually increased by 40 percent last season alone. The men’s team found seven wins at home. Women’s soccer had some suspenseful games, gaining overtime wins three times.

This season, men’s soccer will feature post-game movies on Rooney Field, according to Alyssa Simonin, Graduate Assistant of Marketing and Promotions of Duquesne Athletics.

Women’s volleyball kicks off in September, and considering their hot streak at home last year, winning nine and only losing twice, they are worth watching.

I actually attended my first Duquesne swim meet when writing my first article for The Duke. I was impressed by our athletes’ talent and by the dedicated friends and family cheering on Duquesne at Towers Pool.

Before college, I wasn’t really a basketball fan, and after last year the game quickly became one of my favorites, thanks to the Dukes. Be sure to attend the City Game (Pitt vs. Duquesne) and any game held at CONSOL Energy Center.

After the basketball season ends, women’s lacrosse picks up on Rooney. There’s a lot of young talent on this team, and if anything, I think they will be even better than their already successful record.

Something I would like to see improve before I graduate would be an increase in attendance at these games. Our student athletes work hard, and honestly could perform even better at home with a larger fan base.

Duquesne student body president, John Foster does not think attendance numbers are where they should be, and hopes to work with The Red and Blue Crew to improve our student fan base.

“With Duquesne Athletics we have so much to be proud of when you look at the past, especially when you look at a recent history,” Foster told me. “There is so much to take pride in at our university, more than just academics.”