Dukes devastated by loss but A-10’s still a possibility

Pittsburgh, PA — For the second time this season, Duquesne’s men’s soccer team played a man up as St. Bonaventure’s Paul Afful was given a red card in the 68th minute. It did not matter.

By the end of regulation, Duquesne was playing as if it was the team a man down and two minutes in to the second overtime, St. Bpnaventure junior Isaiah Barrett received a low cross and put it in the back of the net, securing a 1-0 victory.

Barrett quickly took his jersey off and the celebration carried into the Rooney Field seats.

While St. Bonaventure was celebrating its first points in Atlantic 10 play, not a pin drop could be heard on Duquesne’s end as players fell to the floor almost frozen.

“That was a tough loss, specifically for the seniors,” Duquesne coach Chase Brooks said. “I thought we worked extremely hard tonight. We had objectives coming into the game and by and large they were met for 90% of that. Ultimately it is that 10% that catches you though. When you are a Division I athlete, and you’re competing at this level, it is 100% all the time, everything that you do. If you take one play off that’s enough and that’s been our Achilles heel all season long. Now we have to remind the guys about our objectives and move forward.”

Earlier in the season, Duquesne played a man up in the second half against Davidson. The Wildcats had already scored a goal prior to being assessed the red card but instead of its play being halted, Davidson scored two more goals and won the match 3-0.

“We were in both of those games and in control for the most part,” said Brooks. “We had more shots, we had more opportunities but it comes down to execution, that’s really all it is.”

It has been a month to forget for Duquesne as the Dukes have yet to score a goal in October, a skid which spans 369 total minutes.

Duquense last scored a goal at 83′ in a 3-1 Sept. 30 home victory against La Salle.

“We have guys that can put the ball in the back of the net, they do it all the time in training,” Brooks said. “It just takes a little extra oomph at the right time. There’s not necessarily something you can coach in that moment, that’s all a mindset. All we can do is continue to remind our guys of what it takes at this level.”

Currently Duquesne is tied for 11th place with St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 standings, but given its loss in head-to-head competition in addition to the worse overall record, the Dukes have the lower placement with just George Mason below them.

There are three matches remaining in Atlantic 10 play for each team and currently the eighth seed, Saint Louis has six points.

Of those matches, the Oct. 28 contest against Dayton is the lone remaining home contest.

“You’ve got to be optimistic in our profession and I am still optimistic,” said Brooks. “We have a good, solid squad. There is no reason why we can’t get results in these last three games.”

Since Brooks was hired as Duquesne’s coach in 2013, the Dukes have made the Atlantic 10 Championship three times in four years and each of the past two seasons.

Knowing he was coming in with a young team, Brooks set the goal of making the Atlantic 10 Championships and right now Duquesne is on the outside looking in.

This goal still remains heading into Saturday afternoon’s road contest at George Washington.

“Our goal coming into the season was making the Atlantic 10 tournament,” Brooks said. “Anything less than that is not good.”

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