Pittsburgh, PA — Duquesne defender Ian Larson lined up for a free kick just outside of Navy’s box determined to even what was a 1-0 deficit at the time and end a scoring drought which spanned 302 consecutive minutes.
Larsen lined up for the kick with sophomore forward Zach Hall and the two played a little trickery on Navy keeper Mac Burke switching positions when the junior defender curved the ball into the net.
As Larson was describing his goal, Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” played and a smile formed on his face.
“I saw the goalie and he was the tallest guy,” Larson said. “My goal was to get it around the wall and on target. Luckily it went in.”
Indeed Duquesne did take care of business coming back to defeat Navy 2-1 Saturday night and ended a three-match losing streak in the process.
“Clearly we’re doing some things the right way and we need to keep the faith, trust in each other and keep the connections,” Duquesne coach Chase Brooks said. “We just have to keep moving forward, that’s what it’s about and that’s what we’re preaching, enjoying their soccer and just getting after it.”
With Duquesne (2-4-0) being a relatively young team, it was Larson a junior, and Jason Twum, a senior that led by example
Twum was at the right place at the right time on a long pass over the back line and his kick beat a charging Burke. It was Twum’s first career goal.
“We keep encouraging the young guys to keep working hard,” co-captain Cody West said. “We’ve been pretty unlucky our first four games but that doesn’t show who we are, we’re not that bad of a team. The way we worked out here today shows what we can do. I think this is going to put us on the right foot forward for the rest of the season.”
What may make Duquesne even more pleased with the victory was the it came without Olav Hovstad the other team co-captain.
Duquesne was without West in the last match and Brooks considered the team’s 1-0 setback to Wright State his team’s best performance of the season.
“We’re both captains but we breed leaders,” said West. “It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing captain’s band or not, we are all leaders and we want to lead from the back to the front. Everyone has to lead, dictate play and wear that jersey with pride.”
Navy struck first in the 27th minute when Aubrey Jones scored on a penalty kick. Duquesne keeper Robbie McKelvey dove left and Jones kicked the ball into the lower right portion of the net.
It was additional adversity for a young group which easily could get fixated on past results in addition to a challenging way to allow a goal.
“We keep encouraging the young guys to keep working hard,” Larson said. “We’ve been pretty unlucky our first four games but that doesn’t show who we are, we’re not that bad of a team. The way we worked out here today shows what we can do. I think this is going to put us on the right foot forward for the rest of the season.”
Coming into the match Duquesne was tied for the fewest wins among Atlantic 10 teams, though that is not what the team was focused on as Brooks has consistently stated the goal was to be in form for conference play.
Still, this was a result that pleased everyone, including McKelvey who increased his intensity and became even more vocal in the final minute as Navy was trying to make a final push.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s nice to get a result,” said Brooks. “I think it’s going to add to the belief that what we’re doing is correct and we’re on the right track. Now it’s just about moving forward.”
The process for moving forward will be a quick one as Duquesne will travel to face Temple Tuesday afternoon in a contest that will kick off at 4 p.m.