Women’s soccer draws against UB in home opener

Taylor Miles / The Duquesne Duke

Taylor Miles / The Duquesne Duke

Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke

The Duquesne women’s soccer team is now 1-1-1 after tying the University of Buffalo Bulls 0-0 in the squad’s regular season home opener at Rooney Field on Friday night.

The Dukes were coming off a thrilling double overtime win against the Pittsburgh Panthers last Sunday in the annual Steel City Classic, their first win of the season.

The matchup against the Bulls featured a great deal of offensive pressure from both sides of the pitch. The Red & Blue recorded 13 shots on goal over 110 minutes to the Bulls’ 14.

Arguably the best chance of the game came from senior Duke defender Kahli Hale in the 59th minute. The Dukes attempted a free kick about 25 yards out, but the ball careened off the Bulls’ goal post and bounced out of bounds.

In overtime, the Bulls dominated possession and had two close shots. Forward Katie Roberts had a chance to give the Bulls a late lead, but she knocked it wide right.

The Bulls have made it extremely hard to score against thanks to some great defense and goaltending over their past three games. Their defensive unit has held opponents scoreless through 290 minutes.

Senior netminder Devon Tabata thought her club played very well offensively, but knows they still have to learn how to capitalize on quality chances against solid defensive squads like the Bulls.

“Overall we had really good opportunities, but we just weren’t able to finish some plays that could have given us the lead, so that was kind of frustrating sometimes for the whole team because we were right there,” Tabata said. “We had a free kick that hit the bar as well as other close opportunities. I think if we were able to compete a little bit better in overtime, we would have been on our way.”

Tabata also recorded her ninth career shutout with the Dukes Friday evening, which makes her only the fourth player in the program to accomplish the task.

Junior captain Danya Fenech and her teammates were excited to see Tabata reach the milestone in her career.

“She is a great player to have on this team and I am so happy for her along with the entire team as well,” Fenech said. “She is really helping this team grow and is a great leader to have backing us up in net.”

Assistant coach Brian Shrum agreed with Tabata and offered his own beliefs on both what needs to be addressed, along with continuing to do what works.

“Scoring is obviously the key to work on when we practice. We played great and had great chances this game, but finishing a play is always a main point of emphasis at practice,” Shrum said. “They are doing really well right now defensively speaking, which can go a long way too.”

Tabata also said that last week’s win over the Panthers helped keep the team in the game on Friday.

“After our big win [last] Saturday, we really came together on Friday and we knew this was going to be a hard game, but our past experiences helped us well,” she said.

Both clubs had three chances to bury a goal via corner kicks, but nothing came to fruition. Tabata stopped three shots on goal, while the opposing goalie, Laura Dougall, recorded five saves.

The Dukes will continue their three-game home stand at Rooney Field this Friday when they take on the Niagara University Purple Eagles at 8 p.m. The team will then play one more game at home against Youngstown State on Sept. 12 before embarking on a five-game road stretch that will take them to West Virginia, Washington D.C. and across the country to Southern California against for the final two games of September against California Riverside and California Santa Barbara on Sept. 26 and 28, respectively.

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