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Preview: Duquesne women host St. Francis (PA) to open season

Photo courtesy Ed Thompson
NCAA Women’s Soccer

Duquesne vs St. Francis (PA)

Sunday, August 22  |  2 p.m.  |  Rooney Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Duquesne women’s soccer team opens the 2021 season this weekend when it hosts Saint Francis U (0-1) at Rooney Field Sunday afternoon. The contest is slated to begin at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Look for updates and a game report from Pittsburgh Soccer Now contributor Zac Weiss (@ZacharyMWeiss)

While Duquesne opens the season on Sunday, St. Francis, with a roster that features four former WPIAL standout players (Emma Sawich, Peters Twp; Julianna Marshall; Serra Catholic; Coletta Ozbay, Chartiers Valley; Abigail Boulos, Deer Lakes), faces a quick turnaround and looks for a bounce-back performance after facing ACC’s Clemson on the road, where they were defeated 8-0.


  • All-Time Series: Duquesne leads 12-7-1
  • Series at Rooney Field: Duquesne leads 8-1
  • First Meeting: Sept. 28, 1994 – Saint Francis won, 4-3
  • Last Meeting: Sept. 14, 2018 at Duquesne – Duquesne won 2-0
  • Streak: Duquesne +5


  • The Dukes claimed a 2-0 win over Saint Francis on Rooney Field in the last meeting in 2018.
  • Abby Losco scored in the 30th minute and Alex Saturni added an insurance goal in the 64th minute to give Duquesne the victory.
  • Duquesne held the Red Flash without a shot attempt, allowing former Dukes’ goalkeeper Kyra Murphy to earn the clean sheet.


  • The Dukes are 10-15-2 all-time in season openers. Duquesne has lost each of the past five openers.
  • The last Duquesne win in a season opener was a 2-0 win over Robert Morris on August 21, 2015.
  • Duquesne has opened its season with Saint Francis five times, with the Red Flash winning three of those matches.
  • The Dukes notched a 1-0 overtime win on August 23, 2013 the last time Duquesne played Saint Francis in a season-opening contest.


  • The Dukes are 12-9-5 all-time in home openers, including a 2-0-1 mark in the past three seasons.
  • Duquesne has hosted Saint Francis three times for its home opener and won two of those meetings.


  • The Dukes were picked to finish 10th in the annual Atlantic 10 women’s soccer preseason poll announced earlier this month.
  • Duquesne is coming off of a 3-5-1 abbreviated season this past spring, in which it played league front-runners Saint Louis and Dayton twice apiece.
  • Head coach Al Alvine brings back eight of the top nine players in terms of minutes played.
  • Senior goalkeeper Megan Virgin returns for the Dukes after posting a 2-5-1 mark in the spring. She ranked seventh in the A-10 with a 78.5 save percentage and third with 5.10 saves per game.
  • Duquesne will need to fill the void left by the graduation of Deena DeBaldo. Debaldo, who was a 2019 All-Atlantic 10 Second Team selection, ended her career in a tie for 10th all-time in school-history with 35 points.
  • The Dukes added five true-freshmen and two transfers to the roster this season.
  • Junior Bailey Farabaugh made 25 starts over the past three seasons at nearby Robert Morris,
  • Sophomore Cami Taylor joins the team after earning Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team honors at Central Michigan in 2019. She made 12 starts for the Chippewas and ranked fourth on the team with five points.
  • Since 2015, the Dukes have boasted a 38-15-8 record at Rooney Field, while outscoring the opposition by a mark of 104-50 in those matches.


  • Al Alvine enters his 10th season as the head coach of the Dukes in 2021.
  • The Dukes’ all-time winningest coach boasts a record of 66-74-20 on the Bluff and 33-41-9 in Atlantic 10 play.
  • Alvine inherited a three-win team prior to the 2012 season and quadrupled that total in four years.
  • He set a program record with 12 victories in 2015 – which included the program’s first-ever A-10 Championship and NCAA Tournament bid.
  • His teams have totaled 11 or more wins three times during his tenure.
  • Alvine has coached four First-Team and three Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 picks, including 2017 A-10 Midfielder of the Year Linnea Faccenda.
  • He was named the fifth head coach in Duquesne women’s soccer history on December 29, 2011.
  • Alvine came to the Bluff after spending five seasons as head coach at California University of Pennsylvania, where he went 73-28-11 – including a 38-2-6 mark over his final two seasons with the Vulcans.


  • Saint Francis did not compete last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Red Flash were picked to finish fifth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Preseason Poll revealed earlier this month.
  • Saint Francis is coming off of an 8-0 loss at No. 7 Clemson Thursday night.
  • The Tigers netted seven first-half goals to pull away from Saint Francis for the win.
  • Clemson out-shot Saint Francis 32-to-4 on the evening.
  • Goalkeepers Sarah McConnon and Emma Sawich each saw 45 minutes of action while making their collegiate debuts for the Red Flash.
  • Saint Francis returns only one of its top-seven scorers from the 2019 season – Leanna Choo. Choo did not play in the game at Clemson.


  • Ellie Davis is in her third year and second season as head coach of the Red Flash.
  • She led Saint Francis to a 7-9-1 record in 2019, including a 6-4 mark in NEC play, in her first season as head coach.
  • Former Red Flash Alyssa McGhee earned NEC Offensive Player of the Year honors after the season.
  • Prior to her arrival in Loretto she was an assistant coach at Sam Houston State.
  • She has also had stops as an assistant at James Madison, Indiana and fellow A-10 foe St. Bonaventure.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Danny Griffin

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