Duquesne women’s soccer coach Al Alvine was quick to the point when describing Thursday night’s Atlantic 10 rematch against a La Salle team which ended their 2017 season.
“No, nothing really needs to be said,” he said. “It’s a rematch of our tournament game last year and whenever we play them it’s a battle royale.”
La Salle which is 3-0-1 on the road this season, bested Duquesne in last season’s Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals in overtime after the Dukes led with 1:08 remaining in regulation.
Duquesne enters the contest 0-1-1 in conference play having dropped a 2-0 road contest to UMass and then this past Sunday playing to a scoreless draw against Dayton.
In the Dayton contest, Alvine expressed the back and forth nature and called the draw “a fair result”, ultimately believing his team improved with the contest.
For a good portion of the game, Duquesne was defending its own end, but stood tall.
“It was just the willingness to compete for 90 minutes,” Alvine remarked about Sunday’s draw. “It was a tough trip for us on a lot of different levels, so really the big message from us to the team after the game was we have to be willing to sell out with every 50-50 ball and 40-60 ball. I thought today we did that. We did not always win those challenges, but we’re making an effort. If we can compete this way from here on out, points will come our way, we’ll get the points that we need and the goals that we need.”
Duquesne has been missing Katie O’Connor who has not played since a Sept. 2 home game against Binghamton when she absorbed some contact in the box which led to a Casey Aunkst penalty kick which proved to be the lone goal that afternoon.
Alvine did have some positive news on that front.
“It’s been a struggle to score goals but Katie O’Connor will be back on Thursday, she’ll be playing,” said Alvine. “When you get a player like that she can score goals and raises the team’s level.”
Duquesne came away from Sunday’s game with some bumps and bruises as defender Missy Moore left just prior to the end of regulation, walking under her own power and then in a double-overtime scrum around the net, keeper Kyra Murphy was clearly favoring her right shoulder as both herself and her teammates successfully defended a potential Dayton goal.
“They lay it all on the line for the team and for each other,” Alvine said of his team. “They are a young group but games like this force you to grow up in a hurry.”
These two teams meet Thursday at 7 p.m.