By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
The seventh seed of a post-season tournament is usually not much of a threat to the other teams competing, but don’t tell that to the Duquesne women’s soccer team. The Red & Blue shocked the NCAA after taking the title at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships this past weekend in Davidson, North Carolina.
“I always felt that if we could get into the tournament, we could make a good run,” head coach Al Alvine said. “I couldn’t be happier for the kids — they put a lot into this season and especially a lot into this tournament. This is a tremendous reward for them.”
With a 2-0 win over Fordham on Sunday, the Dukes secured first place in the A-10 Tournament, its first in program history, and received a bid to play in the NCAA Women’s Championship. Freshman forward Abby Losco, who scored a goal in the championship-winning match, is proud of her team’s effort.
“It was awesome to have everything we’ve been working for since August pay off and earn a championship,” Losco said. “Going into this weekend, we were not favored to win at all, but we worked hard and got the results.”
Vanessa Perdomo, junior keeper for the Dukes, proved the team’s depth during the weekend, especially in their triumph over Fordham to take the title. Not being the starting goalie for the team, Perdomo had some added pressure on her shoulders to perform well.
“Everyone on our team has talent. It’s just about taking the chances you are given and seizing the moment,” Perdomo told The Duke. “I just kept thinking about how it could be our last game, so there was no going back; we had to go out there and give it our all.”
Perdomo was named MVP after her A-10 Championship record-breaking 29 saves total. In her shut out against Fordham, she was able to stop nine shots, making some diving saves along the way.
Losco was the first to find the back of the net in the 77th minute of the match. With only five minutes remaining, sophomore forward Linnea Faccenda was able to notch another, allowing a cushion for the final moments of the game.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” Faccenda said. “ It was awesome scoring in the game, but whenever I look back at this game, I’m really just going to remember how hard the team has worked and the feeling we all had at the final whistle.
After the game, the A-10 announced its All-Championship team, and four Dukes were a part of the group: Perdomo, Losco, Faccenda and freshman forward Katie O’Connor.
The Dukes head to the 2015 NCAA Women’s Championship and will face off against the West Virginia Mountaineers this Friday at 6 p.m. With the young leadership on this team, expect more success for women’s soccer down the road.