The Duquesne Women’s Soccer Team had another first half in which it largely did not control play, though another halftime dialogue led to a 2-1 victory over Youngstown State Sunday afternoon at Rooney Field.
Indeed Emma Bundy’s goal in the 53rd minute proved to be the game winner as Penguins goalkeeper Zeeyana Jivraj could not hold onto Bailey Farabaugh’s shot off a Hannah Nguyen corner kick.
“I’ve always said that it’s the mark of a good team when you can win without playing your best,” Duquesne coach Al Alvine said. “It was a poor first half for us by our standards, but I thought the second half was markedly better. We created a lot more chances and played with much more sense of urgency, which was good to see. We still have not brought a complete 90-minute game together. We’ve got two more non-conference games to figure it out and hopefully we will.”
The last time these two teams met was a Sept. 15, 2019 contest the Dukes won 6-0 and assessing the sluggish start, Alvine said may have partly been taking the opponent too lightly, recalling that result.
Bella DeFabbo got the start in goal for Duquesne (2-1-1) Sunday afternoon and had four saves on the afternoon.
She attempted to play the ball in front of the box, but instead, Youngstown State forward Abriana Rondin scored on an undefended net, tallying her first goal in the sixth minute.
Nguyen’s foot also led to Duquesne’s first goal as Karley Steinher put a head on the kick and beat Jivraj, good for her second score of the young season.
Though the teams were tied at halftime, Alvine opined that his side was outworked and outfought. Something needed to be said, so it was vocalized, with a clear statement citing season-long goals not being able to be met at that quality of play.
Duquesne would respond with Bundy’s tally in the 53rd minute.
Bundy’s goal is her third of the season and came as she was able to beat Jivraj’s reach after bobbling Farabaugh’s original shot. She has scored in each of Duquesne’s three home games.
“She really has that nose for the ball, and it’s something we’ve been missing for the last couple of years,” said Alvine. “She’s playing really well too. She’s defending well from the front, creating chances for other players. She’s in a pretty good spot and had a pretty good game against West Virginia. She’s somebody that we’re going to be leaning on to contribute to the scoresheet this fall for sure.”
Duquesne has its next two contests on the road, beginning with a Thursday night tilt at Niagara. The Purple Eagles are 3-1-0 on the season.
FINDING DEFENSIVE ANSWERS
Defensively Duquesne has certainly had to face its fair share of challenges.
Neither Kayla Winicki, nor Ashley Briscoe played in Sunday’s game, both of whom are normally starters for the team.
The injuries have certainly forced Alvine to be creative.
“Everything impacts every other facet,” he said. “You’ve got Ashley Rodriguez who’s played center back for a lot of her club career, but when we put her in there, she’s more than capable. When she plays in that spot, we lose a lot going forward with her ability to attack out of the back. Likewise, not having Kayla back there to marshal things, the way she has since she’s gotten here. It’s a challenge for us, but that’s what we get paid for, to navigate those landmines and see what our options are. We’ll assess what we can do.”
One promising sign is Alvine expressing hope that Briscoe will be available for Duquesne’s Sunday afternoon contest at Buffalo, something which could help provide some normalcy on the back end.
In the meantime, Steinher has been a big part of Duquesne’s defensive plans. She started the team’s season opener against Saint Francis.
When Winicki got injured, it was Steinher who came off the bench to take her place. Steinher has been a fixture on the pitch since.
“She’s playing with a lot of confidence,” said Alvine. “She’s had to become a leader back there and become more vocal. She has really risen to the challenge. I’m really thrilled with how she’s been able to fill the void left by Kayla and Briscoe, she’s been great.”
HE SAID IT
“She’s a transfer and another new kid that has made a real impact for us. Bailey especially is a gritty, physical kid. She’s a quiet kid, she doesn’t say much but she’s somebody that we’re real happy to have with our group. She’s contributed a lot.”- Alvine on Bailey Farabaugh who embraced plenty of contact and recorded an assist in Sunday’s win