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Ask Ekeland’s brace leads Duquesne past St. Joseph’s, 2-1, to remain unbeaten in A10

From Duquesne University Athletic Department Report

Duquesne University men’s soccer team stayed unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa., at Sean Sweeney Field.

Midfielder Ask Ekeland got things going early for the Dukes with two first half goals in a span of four minutes, which gave Duquesne (5-2-2 / 2-0-1 A-10) all it would need in picking up a key road win.

The opening score came when Anthony DiFalco completed a pass from midfield to Ekeland, who took a few strides forward before ripping a shot off a Saint Joseph’s (3-7-1 / 1-0-2 A-10) defender and into the back of the net from beyond the box at 12:35.

Following the opening marker, the Dukes capitalized again when Sam Bennett lobbed the ball into the left side of the box, where Jayden Da provided a header to Ekeland, who stuck his leg out to put it past Lars Haavie at 16:32 for his second goal of the game.

Leading, 2-0, heading into the second half, the Hawks got one back nine minutes after the break. James Fletcher took a touch off a pass from Truls Braendvang and made no mistake, finishing past Zoltan Nagy to cut the Duquesne lead to 2-1.

However, the Hawks could not find the equalizer despite multiple chances in the final minutes and a stout defensive effort from the Dukes. The best of those chances came from a free kick outside the box in the 89th minute. Ben Pleavin was issued a yellow card, but Duquesne’s wall stood tall and blocked a shot off the leg of Blake Driehuis.

Saint Joseph’s was forced to play the final two minutes of the game without Matias Mancini, who earned a red card in the 88th minute. A physical match, the two teams combined for 26 fouls in the match. Each side had 13 fouls apiece.

The Dukes were outshot, 12-8, in the match, but they drew even in shots on goal, matching two from the Hawks.

Junior forward Maxi Hopfer got his first taste of game action since the season opener, returning from injury playing 26 minutes in the second half. Hopfer was named a National Forward to Watch by United Soccer Coaches this preseason and has earned A-10 postseason honors in each of his three seasons.

Duquesne will finish off its longest road trip of the season Wednesday, Oct. 4, with a 7:00 p.m. match at Davidson.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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