Sean McKean | Staff Writer
After a victory on Friday afternoon against UMass, the Duquesne women’s soccer team fell to Saint Louis University on Wednesday night, getting eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament in the semifinal stage.
Going into the first game against UMass, confidence was high for the Dukes after a dominant victory from home against the Richmond Spiders. However, the Minutewomen also had their heads held high after a similarly dominant victory against Fordham. Overall, the game looked to be a good one.
As the game began, neither team appeared to have gained primary possession. Even though the Dukes got a shot within the first minute from Jaimi Araujo, the Minutewomen followed it up with three shots of their own, two from Ashley Lamond and one from Bella Recinos.
However, Duquesne started to gain some momentum, and it culminated into a surprising goal from Maya Matesa. Despite attempting to center the ball for Araujo, the ball swung toward the net, gaining a point for the Dukes early on.
After going down by one, UMass sought to level it back out. Two shots were put up by Ella Curry and Ashley Lamond at the 18-minute mark, but they would each swing wide.
Following a round of substitutions for the Minutewomen, they finally managed to materialize a goal in the 29th minute by virtue of Lauren Robles. Having been put in the game only 10 minutes earlier, a nice setup from Nia Hislop allowed Robles to score an equalizer.
Only 20 seconds later, Matesa would once again score a goal to put the Dukes up by one, after breaking away from the UMass defense for the shot.
As the first half came to a close, Duquesne and UMass had to battle for control, with the possession struggle once again showing itself. Though each team had shots on target from Lauren Robles and Kayla Leseck respectively, saves from goalkeepers Maddy Neundorfer and Bella Mendoza ensured the first half ended with a score of 2-1.
Coming out of the locker room for the second half, the Minutewomen came out explosively to try to equalize the score once more. Within the first five minutes of the half, Emma Pedolzky and Nia Hislop would each get opportunities to score, but each shot ended up swinging to the right.
The Dukes did not let this go unnoticed, however, as they would get two shots on target in the 50th and 54th minutes. In the 50th, Emma Campanella — coming off her first goal of the season against Richmond — found an opportunity for a shot, but Mendoza made another save. In the 54th, Mackenzie Muir found her way through defense to get a shot, but Mendoza would also bat that one away.
For the remainder of the game, the story of a struggle for possession continued. Though each team would put up quite a few shots on target, the game ultimately ended 2-1 in favor of the Duquesne Dukes. With this victory, they advanced to the semi-finals in the A-10 tournament, going up against top-seeded Saint Louis.
Despite the confidence they had going into Wednesday’s game, it was going to be an uphill battle. Though the Dukes held their own in the opening 20 minutes, a goal from the Billikens’ Emily Groark is where it began to unravel.
While the Dukes tried to gather their defense together, a combination of miscommunication and solid footwork for the Billikens allowed them to get two goals in 45 seconds to take a 3-0 lead.
As both teams exited the locker room, Saint Louis were keen on keeping the momentum going, scoring another goal at the 46-minute mark and putting them up by four.
After the deficit-extending goal, the Dukes began to make better calls defensively, but Saint Louis still got another goal, bringing the score to 5-0.