Men’s soccer tops Duquesne 2-0 in tough match

Four days after a double overtime tie against Dayton, the men’s soccer team faced off against the Duquesne Dukes. It was a physical match, but the Golden Grizzlies came out on top, winning 2-0.

The Dukes are part of the Atlantic 10 conference and came into this 3:30 p.m. match with a record of 2-3-1. Duquesne’s biggest strength was their size, which presented issues for Oakland’s attackers.

“It ends 2-0 but it was not a 2-0 game at all,” Head Coach Eric Pogue said. “It was a hard fought back and forth game, and we were able to persevere. We did a really nice job closing out the game as well. I was proud of our team’s effort. We were able to keep pressure on the ball, especially at the end.”

The Golden Grizzlies excelled at passing the whole game. The ball movement was a focus of the offense, trying to make no mistakes. This strong passing attack led to multiple scoring opportunities.

Goalkeeper Sullivan Lauderdale played a strong part in the shutout, blocking multiple shots, and intercepting corner kicks and crossing passes. The defense contributed to this success clearing the ball out effectively whenever Duquesne got a decent look.

“I thought we were really good defensively,” Pogue said. “I thought Sullivan did a really good job coming off his line defending those long throw-ins and corner kicks. My unsung hero of this game was [midfielder] Noah Jensen though. He sat behind the back line and broke a lot of stuff up. His hard work goes unnoticed, but he’s a fantastic player.”

The first goal of the game came at the 30-minute mark, when forward Napoleon Outlaw III took on two defenders and hit midfielder Evan Sawula with a pass to set up a goal right in front of the Duquesne net. Outlaw dribbled past the defenders and just tapped the ball to Sawula, giving the goalie no shot to stop the goal.

It was a big day on the field for Sawula, playing more minutes than usual due to an injury midfielder Spencer Nolff sustained early in the match. It was an even bigger day considering it was his birthday. As far as the goal goes, Sawula says it was the right place and right time.

“The play actually switched to Po [Outlaw] on the left side and he took it into the box,” Sawula said. “He deflected it and it popped up to me. I had an open net, so I just passed it in.”

The second half was hard fought, as both teams had difficulty creating scoring opportunities. Increased physical play made this a defense-dominated game.

In the last fifteen minutes, the game became increasingly physical and intense. Both sides were playing aggressively, which led to a red card for Duquesne in the 89th minute.

“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” Sawula said. “We treated this as if it were a conference game, even though it obviously wasn’t. We just wanted to keep it low key and have no yellow or red cards, but obviously college soccer can get a little chippy sometimes.”

Duquesne forward Zach Hall was going for a ball and kicked Luke Morrell in the head, leading to him being ejected and a potential goal opportunity for Duquesne being nullified. The fans erupted in boos as they saw Morrell fall to the ground, but Hall apologized directly after the incident and promptly walked off the field.

“I don’t think there was anything dirty there,” Pogue said. “People just want to win. They want to compete…I have a lot of respect for Duquesne and their program.”

Midfielder Jacob Moore added a goal on a breakaway with ten seconds left in the match, making the final score 2-0.

The team gets a week off before traveling to Indianapolis to face the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Jaguars. The next home game for the men’s team is against the Michigan Wolverines on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.