Duquesne secured a 1-0 victory over George Mason in a Saturday afternoon Atlantic 10 road contest and by doing so secured its most road triumphs in a season since 2004 and now sit atop the conference standing with 11 points (3-0-2), two points ahead of Dayton (2-0-3, 9 points).
“It is creating the right opportunity to get those chances for the team and Ask (Ekeland) buried the one in that won the game,” Duquesne coach Chase Brooks said. “It was about understanding that we’re doing things in a positive way right now as a group. For us it is more about getting those opportunities in front of goal. It’s about continuing to have confidence and moving forward in that direction.”
Indeed Duquesne channeled its disappointment from Wednesday night into a more organized attack, which was not quite able to get the ball in the back of the net in the first half but set a standard and determination to accomplish that goal.
At halftime, Duquesne focused on the positives, with Brooks trying to push his team in the right direction.
This desire saw Ekeland score his fourth goal of the season in the 53rd minute off a set piece. It was his first goal since Sept. 10, but his fourth goals and nine points lead Duquesne.
“A win is a win and however you get there is alright in the end,” said Brooks. “We’ve always been good in the set piece area this season for that continuing is not a bad thing at all. We were able to create a lot of scoring opportunities through the run of play.”
This was graduate student goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben’s seventh shutout of the season, though it came far from easy.
While Nascimben made four saves, he took two physical shots from George Mason over the course of this game.
The first occurred in the 31st minute, which left Nascimben down for an extended period of time, enough that his backup, sophomore Trent McConnaughey warmed up with assistant coach Andrew Marshall. Nascimben of course would remain in the game and finished play.
Nascimben now is part of a Duquesne team which concedes .42 goals a game and his .915 save percentage leads the nation.
“He was hit pretty good a couple of times, but he’s been working hard on his body and mental focus,” Brooks said. “You saw that tested today to take those shots and then stop shots off the feet from opposing teams. The attitude was very strong all the way through, obviously Dom taking those physical hits and the guys having his back and blocking shots on their own.”
Duquesne’s victory, coupled with Dayton’s draw against Loyola Chicago late Saturday afternoon, meant that the Dukes lead the Atlantic 10 standings.
“It comes down to us as a staff to help them stay grounded and then on the leadership,” said Brooks. “We have a lot of old heads in the locker room, so I trust everyone to continue to push us in the right direction.”
The Dukes next face St. Bonaventure Wednesday evening at Rooney Field, but in a rare occurrence this contest does not count towards the A-10 standings.
When the conference did the schedule, these two were not pitted against each other, but both needed a game and this fit the bill.
“I’m happy we have Bonnies on Wednesday we could see them in the (Atlantic 10) tournament,” said Brooks. “It’s a good opportunity to continue to build and showcase who we are.”
Duquesne starters (8-1-3/3-0-2 A-10)- Domenic Nascimben (GK), Christoffer Vie Angell, Jesper Moksnes, Torge Witteborg, Zach Mowka, Maxi Hopfer, Harper Cook, Anthony Harding, Nate Dragisich, Ask Ekeland, Cameron Territo
George Mason (2-8-1/1-3-1 A-10)- Jake Langley (GK), Ahmed Mohamed, Linus Dahl, Louis Lehr, Ishmail Kamara, Will Carson, Noah Raphael, Henry Wachsman, Jonathan Fawole, Nicholas Prioli, Joshua Morrobel
Goal- Ask Ekeland DUQ 4th 53′
Yellow Cards- Jonathan Fawole GMU 4′, Christoffer Vie Angell DUQ 34′, Noah Raphael GMU 47, Joshua Morrobel GMU 53′, Zach Golden GMU 81, Zach Eichelberger GMU 87′
Shots- Duquesne 15 (8 on frame) George Mason 8 (4 on frame)