Dukes men's soccer team enjoying a rebirth
Duquesne men's soccer coach Jake Ouimet insisted that his team played well during the first seven weeks of the season. The only problem was that the Dukes were missing what mattered most: wins.
That was, of course, until the team's recent four-game winning streak, which started with a 4-0 shutout of UMass on Oct. 21 and continued with lopsided wins over Rhode Island, Temple and St. Joseph's during a seven-day stretch.
Evidently the problem had been timely scoring, something the Dukes have actually been getting recently.
"We've been continually putting ourselves in position to win games and giving ourselves chances," Ouimet said. "The last four games we're finishing those chances, and that's been the difference."
That finishing touch has transformed Duquesne (7-7-2, 4-2-1) from Atlantic 10 afterthought to postseason threat when the conference tournament begins Nov. 10. The Dukes have games this weekend at Richmond and George Washington, with each crucial toward clinching a playoff spot.
Besides getting goals at the right time, a much-improved defense has helped wake Duquesne from a 1-7-1 slumber. Senior goalkeeper Colin Thorp has made 16 saves over the past four games and sports a 1.15 goals-against average.
"The whole team has picked up its defensive effort," said freshman midfielder Austin Lange, a Kiski Area graduate who has started six matches and has scored three goals. "It has definitely helped out our defensive backs."
Junior forward Josh Patterson leads the A-10 with nine goals, while fellow forward Simon Gomez ranks second with eight. The Colombia-born Gomez has also dished out a conference-best eight assists.
The stats, after Duquesne's recent surge, are there. Now Ouimet hopes his team can score when it counts.
"We've had some bad luck finishing some of our chances during the early stages of our season. Then things just started clicking at this critical time in conference play," Ouimet said. "Our guys have responded the last four games with that urgency to score goals and win games."
Edinboro eyes NCAA meet
The Edinboro men's cross country team hopes to secure a return trip to the NCAA Division II championships after missing out last fall for the first time in 31 years when it competes at Saturday's NCAA Atlantic Regional, hosted by Slippery Rock at Cooper's Lake Campground. The Fighting Scots are ranked No. 8 and recently claimed their 28th PSAC title, their first since 2008.
The 10th-ranked women's team will also compete Saturday with the goal of chasing down Shippensburg, which won its fourth straight PSAC title and has captured the past four Atlantic Regional crowns.
CCAC's Baldwin wins race
CCAC-North cross country runner Janelle Baldwin won the women's 5K at the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 20 Championship on Oct. 29, finishing with a time of 22 minutes, 7 seconds despite blizzard-like conditions in Hagerstown, Md.
The Carnegie native will travel to the NJCAA national meet Nov. 5 in Westfield, Mass.