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Dukes miscues costly in home loss to Princeton

Duquesne women's soccer defender Casey Aunkst pursues a ball in Sunday's rainy 2-1 loss to Princeton. Photo credit: Dave DeNoma/Duquesne Athletics

Duquesne women’s soccer defender Casey Aunkst pursues a ball in Sunday’s rainy 2-1 loss to Princeton. Photo credit: Dave DeNoma/Duquesne Athletics

Pittsburgh, PA — The Duquesne Dukes women’s soccer team was looking to maintain its momentum obtained from the last three matches but instead fell 2-1 to Princeton Sunday afternoon.

Duquesne entered the match against the receiving votes Princeton team with two wins and a draw at Cincinnati, a team which like the Dukes made the NCAA Tournament last season. Additionally, Duquesne beat Princeton last year and the Tigers were coming off a 3-0 loss to second ranked West Virginia.

“I think we did really well and worked as a team and we could’ve pulled out this game and won but we need to move forward and learn from our mistakes,” sophomore forward Katie O’Connor said. “This loss will help us in the long run.”

Duquesne now falls to 3-3-2 on the season.

Early on in the match, both teams adjusted to the rain showers. Princeton found itself ahead earning a penalty kick in the 15th minute which Tyler Lussi converted for her eighth goal of the season.

In the 29th minute, O’Connor was given a chance on Emilie Larsen’s throw in and made a quick move to create enough separation to shoot and score her third goal of the season.

“We started working on watching the other defenders and how they moved,” said O’Connor. “I realized they were far apart so I turned inside and saw the gap and took an early shot. It was a great throw by Emilie and the team worked the ball up to get the throw in.”

Dukes coach Al Alvine has noticed an extra gear in O’Connor’s game during this recent stretch.

“The last three games she’s really stepped it up in terms of her ability to get pressure on the ball and pressuring defenders to make mistakes,” he said. “She creates opportunities for herself and other players.”

Though Duquesne went into the locker room at halftime tied at 1, it returned at the end of the game losing because they were unable to clear a free kick. As a result Natalie Larkin scored her first goal of the season for Princeton in the 54th minute.

“The effort was fantastic the kids battled for 90 minutes,” said Alvine. “I don’t know that were necessarily good enough or deserved to win but I don’t think we deserved to lose either. At the end of the day we didn’t lose this game because of anything that they did, we beat ourselves. We’ve got to do a better job at eliminating mistakes.”

Though this loss hurts, the Dukes main goal all along has to be ready and correct potential shortcomings in preparation for Atlantic 10 play and this loss helps in that respect.

One thing that is uncertain is junior captain and midfielder Linnea Faccenda’s status for Friday afternoon’s contest against Saint Francis.

Faccenda and a Princeton player each went in for a tackle and the junior got the worst of it. She stayed down on the field for a couple of minutes after the second half collision and did not return. She was seen walking on the pitch following the game but Alvine stated more would be known in the next 24-to-48 hours.

As Saint Francis looms closer, Alvine is still disappointed by the second goal and relayed that message to his team following Sunday’s match.

With Atlantic 10 play play beginning after Friday’s match, Alvine wants to ensure his team learns from this loss.

“The higher of a level you go in this game the smaller the margin for error,” he said. “For us that second goal was a goal that was utterly preventable. The effort and everything was great but at the end of the day things like that will always be your undoing. If we can figure out a way to eliminate that, we’ll be fine.”

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