WSOC drops result to UMass, playoff hopes still alive

Zachary Weiss / Pittsburgh Soccer Now | Duquesne midfielder Hannah Nguyen plays a ball during Sunday’s loss to UMass at Arthur J. Rooney Field. The defeat was Duquesne’s first on home turf this season.

James Leo | Staff Writer

Oct. 24, 2019

Despite a strong first half, the Duquesne women’s soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon.

A win would have moved them up in the A-10 standings; however, a strong finish to this season will allow them to make up some ground.

The Dukes controlled the field in the first half. They constantly pressured UMass early, with five shots in the first 10 minutes of play. Their diligence paid off and led to a goal in the 11th minute, by sophomore midfielder Alex Saturni.

The Duquesne women’s defense also started off strong. The team’s defense, coupled with Megan Virgin’s stellar goaltending, kept the Minutewomen scoreless in the first half despite outshooting Duquesne in that half.

They also forced Massachusetts to make a lot of mistakes, with several offsides penalties and fouls going against the Minutewomen.

The second half was unfortunately a different tale for the Dukes. Massachusetts built on their first half momentum, attempting eight shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half. These opportunities finally provided the Minutewomen with their first goal. Forward Lauren Bonavita’s goal in the 64th minute tied the game at 1-1, and took the air out of the Duquesne faithful.

Massachusetts continued to amass more pressure against Duquesne’s defense. They put up 10 shots in the next 15 minutes, including a 78th minute goal from midfielder Jenny Hipp.

The Minutewomen compiled 19 shots in the second half alone, many of which were on goal.

Final statistics from the game showed that Massachusetts outshot Duquesne 29-14, and had seven more shots on goal.

The Minutewomen also had four more corner kick opportunities than the Dukes, giving them more opportunities for a victory.

Despite the Dukes’ first half strength, Coach Al Alvine was dissatisfied with the result.

“We can have no complaints about this result today, because we played poorly in every facet of the game,” Alvine said. “We looked disinterested, which was a shame. Up until this point, everything was in our own hands in terms of making the tournament and possibly hosting.”

Alvine also praised their opponent, who won in comeback fashion.

“Even when we were up at halftime, they were determined to come out and change the narrative of the game, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Alvine didn’t think Duquesne’s recent road-trip was the reason for their poor performance.

“It’s a long season, but everyone has to play the same amount of games; everyone has to travel; everybody has to play on the road,” he said. “You could say the effects of a late night on Thursday getting back, and still feeling that could have been a factor. But they played on Thursday, too, and they had to travel from Massachusetts to get here.”

Regardless of Sunday’s loss, Alvine knows his team is capable of winning.

Most of these players are pretty accomplished players who have played at a fairly high level. It becomes a question of being willing to put the work in, and we weren’t willing to do that today,” Alvine said.

The showing was particularly upsetting for Coach Alvine, as he was really impressed by his team’s effort in its previous match.

“It’s disappointing because on Thursday, we were phenomenal. In the second half of that game [against Dayton], we took it to them, we battled, we fought hard. But today, with everything on the line, to get this sort of performance is discouraging.”

Duquesne will look to snap their three-game losing streak, and work their way back into the A-10 postseason picture, on Thursday against St. Bonaventure.  St. Bonaventure has posted a less than stellar 2-5-1 record in conference play this season, but has found success of late.

The Bonnies have won two of their last three contests, with victories against Richmond and Rhode Island.

The Dukes will then wrap up their 2019 regular season slate on Sunday, Oct. 27, on the road against Rhode Island.

If they win their remaining two games, the Red and Blue can finish .500 in A-10 play this year, at 5-5.

Two wins to wrap up the regular season would also clinch an A-10 Championship Tournament berth for Duquesne.

However, this team’s success — both in the regular season and the postseason—will remain contingent on their ability to display their talents and win on the road.

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