Sixth seeded Duquesne upset second seeded Rams 2-1

An early 2-0 deficit was too much for the Rams to overcome in Friday’s loss vs. Duquesne. Contributed by:

The University of Rhode Island Men’s Soccer team had its season come to a close on Friday after falling to the No. 6 seed Duquesne Dukes in the Atlantic 10 semifinals 2-1. 

The Rams trailed behind early as Duquesne scored its first goal just 10 minutes into the opening half. For the Dukes, it was forward Nate Dragisich who was able to beat two Rhody defenders and find space for a 20-yard screamer of a goal. Rhody fought to equalize in the first half with chances from forward Patrick Agyemang and winger Rafa Villanueva, but they were stopped by Duquesne goalkeeper Dominic Nascimben, keeping the deficit at one goal heading into the break. 

Similar to the first half, the Rams came out of the locker room slow. They paid for their sluggishness when Duquesne’s Zack Mowka scored a goal from point-blank range to double their advantage. 

It didn’t take long for the Rams to respond though, as Villanueva found the back of the net just four minutes later on an assist from Agyemang and grad student Edvin Akselsen.

The Rams came closest to adding and tying up the match when Agyemang headed a cross towards the goal, but unfortunately saw it drift above the crossbar. Two minutes later, Akselsen threatened the goal with a curler from outside the box, but Nascimben was equal to it. 

Agyemang was disappointed with the way the Rams opened the match and felt that was ultimately their downfall. 

“I just feel like we started kind of slow, and we put ourselves in a hole early,” Agyemang said. “Against a good team like Duquesne this late in the season, it ended up costing us.”

This loss made for an abrupt ending to a great year from the Rams who finished 10-5-2 and second in the Atlantic 10. Rhody also logged marquee wins against UConn, defeating the Huskies for the first time since 1979; Dayton, who they beat for the first time since 2006 on the road; and a ranked win against A-10 foe VCU.

Despite the crushing defeat, Agyemang felt as though there was a lot to be proud of in this season for the Rams. 

“We had high expectations coming into the season and obviously it was really disappointing to have our season end like this,” Agyemang said. “But we did some things here that haven’t been done in a really long time, and I feel like we achieved a lot this year.”

Next year, the Rams will only lose their goalkeeper Stefan Schmidt, but return the rest of their young and talented squad. Head Coach Gareth Elliott believes there is a lot to look forward to in Kingston next year.

“We have a pretty young squad, and we showed some of our capabilities this year,” Elliott said. “I think we will have similar expectations for next year, and our fans have a lot to look forward to.”

The Rams will start anew next fall and will have their eyes set on an A-10 championship once again as they gear up for offseason training.