Wednesday night’s Duquesne men’s soccer matchup against Robert Morris provided an immediate challenge after the visiting Colonials scored a goal in the 17th minute, a feat which in the past has been a problem for the home Dukes.
That would not be the case Wednesday, as Duquesne responded with four goals to earn a 4-1 victory over Robert Morris.
“We just stick to our task, focus on what we need to do and we got the result,” senior midfielder Noah Mehta said. “It’s as easy as that. It’s fun, but it’s finally clicking. It’s good to see.”
Duquesne coach Chase Brooks attributed this to the belief his team has had since before the season ever started something which was on full display Wednesday.
“We know we’ve been close in every game and really it’s about getting things to click,” he said. “I think tonight we came out a little flat which is a fatigue factor and there are a lot of young players learning to get through that. I think their goal woke us up a bit, which was nice to see. We were asleep for the first few minutes but the guys responded well.”
— Duquesne Men's Soccer (@DuqMSoccer) September 20, 2018
Robert Morris’s score came from the left side above the box when Owen Pearce beat Duquesne goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben. Pearce was being chased by freshman defender/midfielder Rob Dymond, but some contact caused the latter to fall. Dymond remained on the ground as the goal was scored.
Both Dymond and Duquesne did not remain on the ground for long as the Dukes had several opportunities they were unable to finish near the Robert Morris goal.
It was not until the 38th minute when Duquesne would square the contest at one goal apiece as Dymond received a pass from freshman forward Manel Busquets and shot it into the bottom-right corner of the net.
“You always like to think it is a matter of time, with that many shots, we’re putting on or near the frame it is only a matter of time before one finds the back of the net,” said Brooks. “Robert Morris is a good team but once we found the net, things started to open up for us.”
When halftime arrived, Brooks and his team had to make adjustments and keep the momentum going.
Any doubts as to whether Duquesne could keep the advantage were answered just over two minutes into the second half when Mehta took a pass from junior midfielder/defender Luke Kelly, after a Zach Hall shot on goal was followed and ultimately a goal was scored.
Mehta was swarmed by his teammates and offered a “let’s go” knowing full well what the goal meant.
A sequence of events led to Duquesne’s third goal which was scored by Busquets on a loose ball header from close range in the Robert Morris box.
One of the side referees did not call an offsides on Duquesne which upset the Robert Morris bench. Duquesne was instead awarded a corner kick and the goal.
Robert Morris remained upset about what it felt was a missed call and the bench was assessed a yellow card.
Meanwhile the Duquesne side was all smiles as Mehta earned an assist on the tally.
Busquets compared the senior to a brother while mentioning the seniors support the rest of the team very well. It is safe to say the feeling was mutual on Mehta’s end.
“That’s my boy, that’s my best friend,” Mehta said of Busquet’s goal. “That’s the culture of the team. You can see it on the field. Everyone has good chemistry.”
Less than two minutes later, Dymond struck again on a header off a Mehta corner kick as Brooks pumped his fist from the Duquesne bench.
“I hope tonight will allow us to have confidence to get shots on frame and if we execute the little things appropriately and properly than the result can be there for us,” said Brooks.
While Nascimben got the start in goal Wednesday, redshirt junior Robbie McKelvey warmed up at halftime and played the final 45 minutes.
“It just felt like the right thing to do tonight,” Brooks said. “There was a confidence about him when he stepped on the field which comes from experience. I think that’s what showed through.”
Duquesne will now prepare for its first road game since the Aug. 24 season opener when it faces Oakland Saturday night.
Busquets believes this result as well as the team’s overall body of work in this series of Pittsburgh games gives the team some momentum with conference play kicking off in just over a week’s time.
“I feel we are getting more comfortable every game,” he said with a smile. “We demonstrated that we are winners. Before we were losing these games 1-0, but tonight we won 4-1.”
“I hope tonight will allow us to have confidence to get shots on frame and if we execute the little things appropriately and properly than the result can be there for us,” added Brooks.