The goal for Duquesne senior Austin Lange always is more goals.
It's what the Kiski Area graduate does best on a soccer field, and he hopes to become a go-to scorer for a Dukes team that could use one.
“Senior year, you kind of look back, you see what you have done and see what there still is to do,” said Lange, who tied for second on the team with three goals last season. “I want to be that guy that when we need a goal, give me the ball and see what I can do with it, whether it's score myself or set up one of my teammates. I definitely want to be a leader.”
Don't confuse Lange's attitude with selfishness. The forward who scored 35 times as a Kiski Area senior said he has outgrown that.
“When I came in, I was fresh out of high school and had just set the school scoring record,” Lange said. “It was all pretty much about me until I got here. Over the last three years I've grown into more of a team player.”
Lange has one year left to reach his final goal, which is to win an Atlantic 10 title. The Dukes have hovered around .500 in his three years, going 23-26-5 and 12-11-3 in the conference. Duquesne qualified for the A-10 Tournament the past two years but lost its opening game both times. The Dukes haven't won an A-10 regular-season title since 2005.
Perhaps a more mature Lange, along with his seven fellow seniors, can help change that. Second-year coach Chase Brooks said it's possible.
“There's a sense of belief to the core,” Brooks said. “The team believes we have a group of guys that can win a championship. Nobody wants to be that weak link.”
The starting 11 isn't set heading into Friday's season opener at Marshall, but the 5-foot-10 Lange will be in the mix up front, Brooks said.
“His sheer athleticism and determination are off the charts,” Brooks said. “He's one of the more athletic kids I've ever had the chance to work with. He doesn't look like he's running that fast, and then he just blows guys away.”
That speed is what helped Lange score 85 times in high school, breaking the record of Stefan Lundberg, a 2010 Duquesne graduate who went on to play for the Riverhounds. Lundberg cautioned Lange that things are much different at the Division I level.
“(Lundberg) said the touches are a lot less frequent inside the attacking third for a striker,” Lange said. “When you get your chances, you really have to capitalize because you only get a few every game, where in high school you can get 10-20 easily.”
Lange has been a steady contributor for the Dukes, chipping in seven goals in three years, and has learned to adjust his game.
“He's added a bit of technical ability, for sure,” Brooks said. “When we got here (before the 2013 season), he was a guy who just wanted to run and showcase his talents that way. He's had to reinvent himself just a touch, and he's done a good job with that.
“His soccer IQ is starting to come out more. He's showing an ability to think through a situation rather than run through it.”
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