Fall Sports Preview
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 19:08
Football: Head of the pack
After a terrific season resulting in a shared Northeast Conference co-champions title, Duquesne football is poised to make noise again. The team was picked to finish second in the conference by the NEC’s nine coaches for the second year in a row. The Dukes were denied the chance to play for the Football Championship Subdivision title last fall due to a loss to overall NEC champion Albany during the regular season. Senior quarterback Sean Patterson and senior running back Larry McCoy will return and were named to this year’s preseason NEC Conference Team along with senior defensive back Serge Kona.
Men's soccer: Strength in veterans
The Duquesne men's soccer team will again look to make its first A-10 Tournament appearance since 2006 following a loss in the final game of the 2011 season. The Dukes are predicted to finish ninth in the conference, which has expanded its tournament from six to eight teams. Duquesne’s unbeaten record at Rooney Field in 2011 (7-0-2) was undone by its inability to win any of its nine games away from the Bluff. The Dukes’ road woes were inconceivable as the team outscored its opponents 31-22 by year’s end and was one of the A-10’s most potent offenses. Six of Duquesne’s top seven scorers will return in 2012, led by senior Josh Patterson and junior Simon Gomez. Gomez was named to the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List for 2012, intercollegiate soccer’s highest individual award.
Women's soccer: A bumpy road ahead
After a losing season, the Duquesne women’s soccer team (3-14-1) is looking to bounce back under new coach Al Alvine. Alvine has depth to work with as only five seniors graduated last year and A-10 All-Conference selection Morgan Herbert will return for her senior season. The team will try to contend in the conference after winning only two of its nine conference games last season. Herbert will be one to watch as she steps up as a team leader. Sophomore goalkeeper Devon Tabata will be looked upon to continue stellar play following her role in two of the three Duquesne wins last season. The team has already started play and is currently winless (0-2).
Women's volleyball: Victory is served
The Duquesne women’s volleyball team is preparing not only to make the A-10 championship, but to host it as well. The Dukes dominated at home (10-1), but struggled away (3-11) and finished the season with 19 wins, 12 of which were won by sweeping the first three sets. The Dukes finished fifth overall in the conference last year and were selected by A-10 coaches to finish fifth again in preseason rankings. The team’s best digger senior Sara Scheirman will be returning along with fellow senior Ashley Buse who had 99 blocks for the Dukes last year. Duquesne will host the A-10 Championship Nov. 16-18 at the A.J. Palumbo Center.
Men's cross country: Full speed ahead
The Duquesne men’s cross country team will look to dominate the A-10 again after a second-place finish at the conference championship last fall. All-Conference runner senior Jim Spisak will lead the pack. Spisak finished each of his races in either first or second of all Duquesne runners and came in third place overall at Penn State Nationals among 189 runners from 21 different schools across the United States. Senior Adam Shrawder will also be key for the Dukes after improving last year to become one of Duquesne’s top five runners.
Women's cross country: Stuck in the middle
The women’s cross country team is poised to finish in the middle of the pack again. The Dukes finished sixth at the A-10 Championship, fifth at the ECAC championships and eighth at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals. The team will be without last year’s leader Meg Ecker who graduated in the spring. Ecker came in first in a meet against Bucknell and Pitt and also came in ninth place at the A-10 championship. Junior Amber Valimont will fill Ecker’s shoes for the Dukes after leading as the team’s number two runner last year.