Joey Sykes | The Duquesne Duke
The term “sweeter than fiction” couldn’t better describe the ending of the Duquesne women’s soccer team’s match against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers on Sunday afternoon, which they won 1-0.
Junior midfielder Caroline Lacy was the lone goal scorer for the Red & Blue after she buried a rebound off of fellow teammate Linnea Faccenda’s original shot in the 104th minute of double overtime to give the Dukes their first win in the annual Steel City Classic, a round robin tournament between Akron, Duquesne, Pitt and Robert Morris.
Since each team finished 1-1 in the tournament, the championship was awarded to the team that had the greatest goal differential, which happened to be the Panthers. Pitt finished with a plus-two goal differential, while Duquesne and RMU were tied with minus-one.
Lacy felt otherworldly after netting her first goal of the year.
“It felt like it was an out-of-body experience,” Lacy said. “I was like ‘is this really happening?’”
Pitt outshot the Dukes 15-6 over the course of the game, but it wasn’t as one-sided as the numbers show. Both teams notched plenty of scoring chances, but the early season speed bumps seemed to have plagued both squads as they had a hard time finishing opportunities.
Head coach Al Alvine understands the early season cobwebs, but knows his players will shake them off.
“Finishing is something they all have to work on. Early in the season, that’s always the hardest thing to get ahold of,” Alvine said. “Getting three goals in our first two games is great, though. I’m pretty happy where we are though considering the time of the year.”
Senior goaltender Devon Tabata saw improvement from their tough loss to RMU last Friday.
“I think the biggest thing is that we really recovered from Friday night’s loss and just seeing the change of mentality was awesome,” Tabata said. “This is the best I’ve seen us play since preseason. We just need to continue communicating down the road.”
The Dukes’ newcomers have showcased their skills in their first two games on the Bluff. Freshman midfielder Linnea Faccenda was the player who originally set up Lacy’s game winning goal. Many of the first-year substitutes played alongside Faccenda, including forward Michaela Dicianna, who had great scoring chances and a shot on goal.
Alvine had high praises for his newcomers.
“They’re doing great,” Alvine said. “We got a goal and two assists from them last game and most of them are starting. It’s a natural progression where they’re getting more and more experience. They’re getting to a point where nothing really phases them.”
Tabata was equally as proud of the way the Red & Blue persevered through harsh heat.
“Every year we continue to bring in more and more great recruits, and being a senior, it’s really promising to see how good the freshman are now,” Tabata said. “We were just trying to find the best way to keep us strong for the entire game obviously since we had to play a full 110 minutes.”
The Dukes will play the University of Buffalo Bulls in their home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. at Rooney Field, as the women look to improve to 2-1 on the season.