The Duquesne Women’s Soccer Team sat back awaiting a 50th-minute Drexel corner kick, but allowed three attempts on goal, the third of which proved to be the charm as play broke down inside of the box.
Four minutes later, Duquesne was unable to apply pressure on a long ball and out of position, the Dukes conceded a second score.
In a game which saw several crossbars and frustrated body language, a banged-up Duquesne side fell 2-0 to Drexel Thursday afternoon at Rooney Field.
“I thought we beat ourselves,” Duquesne coach Al Alvine said. “These are things that are going to happen sometimes with a young team. We created a bunch of chances, we should have scored three, maybe four goals. I thought we had better quality chances, but they capitalized on theirs and we didn’t.”
Duquesne had noticeable absences as Maya Matesa, who earlier in the season won Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Week suffered an injury during pregame warmups. Another freshman goal scorer, Mackenzie Muir also was a scratch and one final freshman in Lindsay Krafchick was also held out.
The latter two scratches were known when the team stepped foot on Rooney Field, however the Matesa scratch was another blow suffered 30 minutes before the match started and Alvine had to adjust his starting lineup with Brianna Moore making her second start of the season, a fact even she did not know until the public address announcer stated her name.
There is no timetable for the return of the trio of freshmen.
“Those kids have been out there for a reason,” said Alvine. “Those kids were three or four of our best freshmen thus far, that’s why they’ve been starting every game, so when you take them out of the lineup, on short notice too, within less than a 48-hour period, heck we lost Maya in the warmup, you can’t account for that. Trying to look at silver lining some of the players who hadn’t played much did some good things.”
These absences certainly provided a challenge in terms of on-field connection as the ball at times got stuck and when things went south, the body language was very telling as was the lack of hustle on 50-50 plays.
This after an attack to open the second half which saw senior captain Jaimi Araujo fire a shot on goal 55 seconds after play resumed.
Duquesne certainly had its opportunities but was unable to finish around the net. Araujo remained aggressive in her 72 minutes of play taking six shots, four of which were on frame.
In terms of Duquesne becoming terminators on the offensive end, Alvine believes there are several factors that go towards possessing that mentality.
“It takes experience, it takes times being in that situation, but it also takes some things that you can’t teach,” he said. “You have to have that inner desire to be first to the ball and first to the goal. The corner we conceded, there was nothing pretty about that, it was just desire. They didn’t get the first one or the second one, but they got to the third one. To give them three cracks at goal on a corner kick is unacceptable and if that’s how we defend corner kicks, we’re always going to struggle with set pieces.”
All told, Alvine did express some optimism about Saturday’s effort.
At times, Duquesne was able to possess the ball and build towards stringing positive possessions together, but quickly Alvine went back to discussing having to form chemistry on the fly and the need to become ruthless in front of the net.
There will not be much time to answer these questions as Duquesne hosts a Buffalo team which recently fell to #9 Rutgers by a single goal but has a 3-0-1 overall record. That affair will be held Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Buffalo will be a tough test, they’re a very good team,” said Alvine. “If we spurn our chances like we did today, we won’t have a chance. We won’t get as many quality chances against them as we did today, so we’ve got to bury the ones that we get.”
Duquesne starters (2-2-0): Maddy Nuendorfer (GK), Ashley Rodriguez, Karley Steinher, Libby Majka, Jaimi Araujo, Mackenzie Leeder, Ally Campanella, Kayla Winicki, Emma Bundy, Brianna Moore, Sarah Wilkinson
Drexel starters (4-0-1): Molly Piso (GK), Lily Dunbar, Anna Salvucci, Annalena O’Reilly, Delaney Lappin, Tori Yost, Kylie Kutz, Casey Touey, Kelly Jones, Madison Maxwell, Gabrielle Perrotto
Goals: Annalena O’Reilly DREX 50′, Delaney Lappin DREX 54′