The Duquesne Men’s Soccer Team saw its season come to an end following a 2-1 defeat against No. 8 Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Championship finals.
“For this group to accomplish what they did, this season was absolutely outstanding,” Duquesne coach Chase Brooks said. “We definitely took some steps forward as a program this year, and proved that we could compete with pretty much anybody that we’re going to come across. That was a lot of fun to see and definitely something to be proud of. I think for today’s game, you could see we started strong and then as the game wore on, you started to see some of our inexperience start to come out.”
Duquesne scored the game’s first goal at 13′ as Jayden Da tallied his first of the season, but conceded two first-half scores 2:23 apart.
Brooks attributed the two goals to inexperience against a team that was undefeated and accustomed to success playing on its home pitch.
After the first SLU goal, from A-10 Player of the Year Simon Becher came in the 24th minute, Brooks said that the team’s young mindset began to creep back in, though he did stress that he appreciated the fight his team brought for 90 minutes.
A big turning point came in the 82nd minute as both Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection Jack Emanuel and Tom Tzabari were assessed red cards for fighting.
“We lost our heads in that moment,” said Brooks. “Whether or not they should’ve had a similar situation a couple of minutes before that is irrelevant. We have to control our emotions and understand that we’re on the road and we were playing for the championship. There were bigger things on the line and you can’t let your emotions boil over in that moment. I know that’s a moment this group will learn from.”
Duquesne tried to course correct and was able to get inside the box twice afterwards, but were unable to find an equalizer.
As Brooks entered the locker room following the result, a collective look of disappointment was evident, but he was quick to express his gratitude for the season and how the team fought.
Just as important was the attention the team started to receive this season from those around campus. Attendance grew throughout the season and administrators in addition to professors became aware of the historic nature, the campaign provided.
“It was great to see our guys do what they did this season and to see so many people around campus take notice,” Brooks said. “It was a wonderful feeling. We really haven’t changed much, it’s more about getting the right guys in and you saw that all come together this season, with a group that was hungry to prove that we are able to compete for championships.”
For their efforts in the post season, both Nate Dragisich and Ryan Goodhew were selected to the A-10 Championship’s All-Tournament Team.
Dragisich scored a goal and Brooks was happy that the Atlantic 10 Second-Team selection was chosen, praising his midfielder for always giving everything and “bleeding the colors”.
Goodhew totaled four assists in three games, executing multiple set pieces for his team to succeed.
“I think he is arguably one of the better center-midfielders in the conference and I think he took it a little personally that he didn’t get any awards this year from the conference,” said Brooks. “You saw him really step up, and that was the level we needed him at, to be a catalyst for us as we pushed through the tournament.”
Though Duquesne’s season is now over, Brooks will look back at it fondly, though he hopes it also is the start of something special.
In order to accomplish that, it has to process and reflect, knowing that as long as Sunday’s result proves to be a learning experience, that is certainly room to push forward.
“Hopefully we can take more steps in the right direction,” Brooks said.
Photo credit: Bill Barrett/Atlantic 10