Just 41 hours earlier, Duquesne sophomore midfielder/forward Zion Beaton challenged his team to protect its home field, and with one day to prepare for Detroit Mercy, the focus was on fine tuning the mistakes that resulted in a disappointing overtime loss.
What followed Sunday afternoon on Rooney Field was an attacking Duquesne team which refused to settle for empty possessions.
“I think we just needed to find our passion in the game,” Beaton said. “We definitely have had a rough couple of games coming into this one and needed to find ourselves again and needed a push to motivate ourselves.”
As Duquesne continued its attack, Brooks continued coaching his team, even losing his voice in the second half, another clear sign of how committed his “family” was towards turning the page.
“What you saw today was the same type of effort we’ve given in the first two games but today we eliminated the little mistakes and that’s the difference,” he said. “That is what we have been working towards. It’s about making sure we put ourselves in a position to win the game, not the opposite.”
The Duquesne men’s soccer team was able to defeat Detroit Mercy by a 3-0 score Sunday afternoon, earning its first shutout since Aug. 30, 2017 against Bloomsburg, a span of 17 games.
“It’s definitely been a long journey, it’s been a lot of hard work and fighting both as individuals and as a team to get to this point,” Beaton said. “We know that we’re going to come onto this field or any field as the underdog, so we have to fight and scrap for this. It is a good result to show that we have grown and are here to play some soccer and here to compete while also redeeming ourselves in front of our fans.”
— Duquesne Men's Soccer (@DuqMSoccer) September 2, 2018
Duquesne consistently created opportunities throughout the match including seven corner kicks between the ninth and 16th minutes, but it was the 24th minute that opened up the scoring in this game.
Freshman defender/midfielder Rob Dymond fielded a cross from freshman forward Manel Busquets just south of the 25-yard line and caught Detroit Mercy goalkeeper Evan Mazurek by surprise with a straightaway kick. Mazurek appeared frozen in the goal, almost stuck and the ball successfully landed on the lower right portion of the goal Duquesne had its first score.
Following the tally, Duquesne seemed to play even harder, showing a determination to score again, winning races to balls, getting off shots, which totaled 28 for the contest and possessed a controlled aggression in doing so.
All of this effort would pay off once again when Beaton scored in the 56th minute, fielding a Busquets pass from the 25-yard line. Beaton races past the Detroit Mercy defenders, fielding the ball at the 10-yard line and beating Mazurek, once again lower right.
It was Beaton’s first goal since Sept. 30 against La Salle.
“It’s been a long wait, I’ve been waiting for one,” said Beaton. “As soon as Manel played me that through ball and I was able to turn on goal, I knew I was going to put it in the back of the net.”
Junior forward Zach Hall added the third and final goal in the 87th minute, cleaning up a Beaton shot that was saved by a diving Mazurek. The ball rebounded left, and a sprinting Hall beat the Detroit Mercy keeper on the long run to the ball, burying it past a diving defender into the bottom middle portion of the net.
“To see all of the guys with a smile on their faces, it makes you feel like a kid again putting the ball in the back of the net,” Beaton said, “We’re definitely going to continue to work for these results.”
Freshman Domenic Nascimben started in goal for Duquesne Sunday as redshirt junior Robbie McKelvey was not eligible for the contest due to a red card in Friday’s match against Northern Kentucky.
Nascimben made six saves and also was aided by a cross bar which stopped a Garret Weaver header in the 51st minute. Beaton’s tally in the 56th minute, halted the brief momentum Detroit Mercy had acquired.
This win was an important one for Duquesne as it had dropped its last four home contests. Brooks has made winning at Rooney Field a top priority as it came into the season with a 15-5-2 mark at home, and Sunday’s victory was an important step in accomplishing that.
Now it is about turning the page.
“Too many times we’re trying to relate things back to last year, saying that was the way we were,” Brooks said. “Last year has nothing to do with this squad, it’s all about now and moving forward.”
Duquesne now will be challenged to keep this momentum as it will not play again for 10 more days when it hosts Saint Francis for a 7 p.m. contest.
“We went through a spring season where we went a couple months without playing another team so 10 days is going to be nothing for us,” said Beaton. “We’re going to be here to stay.”