It was not an ideal start to Atlantic 10 play for the Duquesne Women’s Soccer Team as it fell 2-1 in overtime to Massachusetts Sunday afternoon at Rooney Field on an own goal.
Duquesne attempted to head the ball out of play with 56 seconds remaining in overtime, but instead the ball went past goalkeeper Megan Virgin, immediately ending the contest.
In speaking on the result, or lack thereof, Duquesne coach Al Alvine used a quiet tone, often barely above a whisper.
“It’s a fluky goal, a freaky thing,” he said. “I don’t know if we played well enough to win the game, but I don’t think we deserved to lose it. I wasn’t happy with the first half, I thought we were pretty poor, but I thought the second half, especially after they scored the goal, we started to get back to our game. We created some really good chances, unfortunately we couldn’t bury one when we needed to. It’s a really unfortunate goal to concede.”
Duquesne got off to a fast start as Emma Bundy scored her team leading fourth goal of the season off a Hannah Nguyen. Lexy Kendro got a head on the initial kick and Bundy went to work after the ball deflected off two Minutewomen. Bundy beat UMass goalkeeper Megan Olszewski, placing Duquesne in front.
Bundy has scored each of her four goals at Rooney Field, and her nine points also lead Duquesne.
For the 10-15 minutes that followed, Duquesne remained in control of play, but at some point that advantage began to fade.
Though the possession numbers were fairly even after 45 minutes, Alvine did not share that sentiment, feeling his team’s quality of play dipped.
“We took our foot off the gas and let them back into the game. We started playing into their hands a little bit so it was a multitude of things,” conceded Alvine. “They’re a good team but we made things easier for them in the first half.”
At the beginning of the second half, UMass increased its pressure, sped up its attack and were very vocal, all of which appeared to catch Duquesne off guard.
Chandler Pedolzky was fed a lead pass from Karina Groff and beat Virgin, who played the ball. When Pedolzky beat Virgin to the ball, the net was there for the taking.
“They came out, they were a goal down and came out fighting,” Alvine said. “We knew they would come out and would have to weather the storm for the first 10-15 minutes. Obviously once they scored then we decided to play again. You can’t wait for those moments to play.”
Shortly after, both teams had genuine opportunities to take the lead, but most notably, Duquesne junior defender Ashley Rodriguez sacrificed her body to block a shot and then found a way while falling to kick the ball out, but avoid UMass earning a corner kick.
Rodriguez was briefly down but received a warm ovation when she rose to her feet.
As regular drew to a close, sophomore forward Jaimi Araujo had a genuine opportunity inside the box, where she stayed onside and was one-on-one with Olszewski, but the latter gambled on a direction and that early decision paid off.
With PA announcer Brandon Rossi counting down the final 10 seconds, UMass tried to gather itself and fire a shot on goal. Virgin had made an aggressive play and let an open net. Ultimately the Minutewomen scored but not before time had expired, so referee Corey Pentz waved it off, despite several UMass players showing clear disapproval over the decision.
It was a fairly even overtime period, until UMass’s Mia Carazza fired a shot that deflected into the goal, allowing for the Minutewomen to have a more joyous trip back to Amherst.
Duquesne now has to turn its focus to preseason favorite Saint Louis as the two sides meet up Thursday night at Rooney Field.
Saint Louis has won the last five contests between these teams and is 6-3-0 overall against the Dukes.
“We take it game by game. Every game is another opportunity,” said Alvine. “We can take a lot of heart from the second half that we played and from the beginning of overtime too. It’s not an ideal way to end a game but we just have to move forward and move on.”