Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
The last home game of the season for the Duquesne Dukes women’s soccer team was a bittersweet one with an emphasis on the “bitter”. The Dukes were unable to find their stride against the La Salle Explorers as they fell 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Rooney Field.
The game was a hard fought battle through both halves. Both teams were given great scoring chances early in the first half including a shot just wide of the net by freshman midfielder Maddie Layman of Duquesne.
La Salle broke the tie 20 minutes into the first half with a shot by Kerri Aikman, who also scored the final goal of the game, which redirected off a player in front of the net to get past Dukes goaltender Ashley Szalwinski.
The second La Salle goal came 7 minutes later after LaSalle midfielder Marykate Bateman headed the ball past Szalwinski into the top left corner. After the referee blew the whistle for the end of the first half, the Dukes headed to the locker room down 2-0 to regroup. The Explorers were able to get off 12 shots off in the first half while the Dukes could only muster four.
Coach Al Alvine knew La Salle was going to be a tough opponent before the game started.
“We played against a good team that got good pressure on the ball,” Alvine said. “They won the conference the past two years and you got a pretty good glimpse at why.”
The Dukes stepped up their pressure on the defensive side of the ball, while trying to create more quality opportunities on the offensive side to score. The second half was under way with strong defense being played on the Dukes end of the field. A free kick for the Explorers seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the Dukes. La Salle’s Aikman scored her second goal of the afternoon off the free kick to put the Explorers up 3-0. Duquesne out shot La Salle 8-7 in the second half, which showed their opponents that they were not going out without a fight.
Even though the Dukes were not satisfied with the loss, there seemed to be a silver lining according to sophomore midfielder Caroline Lacy.
“Obviously it was disappointing to lose but we played a lot better in the second half,” Lacy said. “That’s promising looking forward to next weekend. Hopefully we get two wins then.”
“We did a good job of reorganizing in the second half,” Alvine said. “We played better by putting them under some pressure, but at the end of the day, the first half is what killed us.”
According to Alvine, the Dukes must win both of their last two games to qualify for the playoffs.
“We could have set ourselves up nicely today,” Alvine said. “Unless we win both games now, it’s out of our hands.”
Senior Stephanie Colon thought it was sad that she lost in her last home game at Duquesne but believes it must be put behind her now.
“It was emotional,” Colon said. “We have two more though. All we need is to calm down a little bit and not get intimidated by other teams.”
The Dukes will head to New York this Friday to take on Fordham University and then will head straight for Rhode Island to take on the University of Rhode Island Rams in their final game of the season. The Dukes are currently ranked 10th out of 13 in the Atlantic-10 standings.