Matthew Theodros | Staff Writer
The Duquesne women’s soccer team triumphantly won its 2023 home opener, shutting out American University 5-0 at Rooney Field on Saturday.
Following Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Ohio, Duquesne Head Coach Al Alvine spoke on the team’s attitude and how that fueled them heading into Saturday’s contest.
“We had a really disappointing performance on Thursday night,” Alvine said. “ We were not happy with the result, we were all disappointed in our play, there was nothing positive about it. But, we talked about [the game] the past two days and we wanted the opportunity to show the home crowd what we can really do.”
The Dukes did just that. From the opening kick, they controlled all aspects of the game.
Jaimi Araujo, who led the team in scoring last season opened the game with a goal from the penalty spot at the 7-minute mark. Brianna Moore added to the Dukes’ lead with a 42nd-minute tally, scoring a crafty goal assisted by Libby Majka.
The half came to an end with a 2-0 Duquesne lead, but the story of the half was the tenacious commitment on the defensive end.
The Eagles struggled to initiate any successful offensive possessions due to great effort plays from the defensive unit led by goalkeeper Maddy Neundorfer’s two saves. In the first half, American only attempted three shots, and with only one on target.
The second frame was much of the same with the Dukes picking apart the opposition.
Consecutive goals from Maya Matesa in the third essentially put the game away as Duquesne went up 4-0.
Matesa spoke on her individual and team offensive performance which allowed the Dukes to break through on Saturday.
“Personally, I found the ball well, moving into the pockets in and out,” Matesa said. “Collectively as a team, we saw those pockets and worked together to get to the ball.”
Despite a late Eagles press to stop the bleeding, freshman Kayla Leseck’s first career goal put the contest out of reach.
Leseck spoke on the goals of the team following a dominant win and how they plan on building from it.
“[We’re] Just working on those little things such as simple technical abilities,” Leseck said. “Also, as a team, building our chemistry and continuing to work hard.”
The contest finished with the Dukes holding an 18-4 advantage in shots attempted. When asked about the double-digit advantage, Alvine attributed that to the well-rounded play from start to finish.
“[We were] making good decisions in the final third and taking good shots when we had the opportunity, “ Alvine said. We moved the ball quickly with good combination plays. When you do that good things are going to happen.”
Coach Alvine gave credit to Jayden Sharpless, saying her play showed beyond the box score.
“She didn’t have a goal or assist, but kept things together for us at midfield, breaking up attacks and keeping the ball moving,” Alvine said. Those are the types of players who fly under the radar. The things she does are just as important as everyone else.”
Coach Alvine’s final remarks about the remainder of the season expressed his optimism after the commanding win.
“[We’re] looking game-to-game with a consistent mindset,” Alvine said. “If we can get performances like this we will be great.”
The Dukes return home, Thursday, Aug. 24 against Youngstown State.