Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
The Duquesne women’s lacrosse team is currently standing at an overall record of 2-4 this season. After defeating Robert Morris in their season opener, they were shut out 16-0 by No. 11 nationally-ranked Penn State. The Dukes lost three more games after the Penn State matchup against Marquette, No. 10 Louisville and No. 15 Ohio State. They snapped their losing streak with a 19-2 win over Saint Francis last Wednesday.
The Red & Blue were able to notch their first home-game win of the season on Rooney Field against SFU. Three Dukes scored three or more goals in the game against the Red Flash: sophomore midfielder Kaelin Shaw with five and three from senior midfielder Clare Hurley and sophomore midfielder Tess Drotar. To go with her career-high five goals, Shaw also dished out a career-high three assists.
“Our intensity in practice has been contributing a lot to success out on the field,” Shaw said. “Our teammates are a lot better at helping us get open and creating opportunities for us, so it’s all-around a team effort.”
The Duke’s season was regenerated in their close game against Ohio State on March 8, losing by only 5, with a final score of 17-12. Two players scored hat tricks against the Buckeyes: Drotar with four goals and freshman forward Jill Vacanti with three. Hurley, the Dukes leading goal-scorer with 11 so far this season, was pleased with the team’s effort, despite their loss.
“I definitely think now, we’re playing the way that we are, especially against Ohio State last week, it was a loss but a lot of good came out of it,” Hurley said. “We can definitely have a winning record coming up and win the rest of the way out this season.”
Coach Mike Scerbo explained that the Dukes had been struggling to find their identity, and found it against the Buckeyes. Before that game, intimidation had been a factor in their performance, especially against PSU and Louisville, according to Scerbo.
“Even though it was a loss against Ohio State, we saw some wonderful things happening on the field,” Scerbo said. “We saw some personality coming out, and we continued that trend in the game against St. Francis. Our team is really starting to figure themselves out individually and as a group.”
Beginning with a game against Canisius in Buffalo, New York this Wednesday, the Dukes will be on the road for their next five games. Duquesne may find more success in these upcoming contests, in comparison to their prior matches against three nationally-ranked teams. Their next two competitors, Canisius and Mount St. Mary’s have only found one win each this season.
Atlantic 10 Conference play will open up for Duquesne with a game against the University of Massachusetts on March 27. UMass remains undefeated with an overall record of 7-0. Hurley is anticipating success for the rest of the season, even against UMass.
“Once we get into A-10’s it’s a lot better,” Hurley said. “UMass lost their top five studs so they had to go back down to earth. I think it’s going to be an even game. Better chance.”
Following the game against UMass, the Dukes will face another A-10 competitor, St. Bonaventure on March 29. The Bonnies have yet to find a win so far, with five losses this season. Scerbo feels confident in his team, and looks forward to competition within the conference.
“As we enter A-10 play we know that every game is going to be competitive, our conference is extremely competitive and there are a lot of great rivalries within the conference,” Scerbo said.
“Our focus right now is to go into those games as prepared as we can be, playing the best lacrosse that we are,” Scerbo said. “So that we can put ourselves into the best position to win enough games to get into the A-10 Tournament, and a shot at winning a championship this year.”
The Dukes will play Michigan on April 5, before returning to Rooney Field for a home game against Saint Joseph’s on April 10 at 4 p.m.