New Kid on the Bluff: Austin Lange
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 00:09
Who would have thought a bunch of Dukes and Cavaliers would get along so well?
In the past five years, the Duquesne Dukes men's soccer team nabbed two high-profile Kiski Area Cavaliers from right under the noses of other local universities. The first was graduate Stefan Lundberg, who had an impressive senior season at Duquesne, with six goals and three assists in 2010. Lundberg also held Kiski Area records for most career goals and most goals in a single season.
That was until Austin Lange came along.
Lange broke Lundberg's record for most career goals, with 85 and netted 35 his senior year, tying Lundberg's mark for most goals in a single season.
The freshman has been impressive in eight games for the Dukes as well. He has one of Duquesne's 12 goals, trailing only forwards Simon Gomez and Josh Patterson for the team lead in shots with nine, and leads the team in shots on goal percentage with a solid 66.7 percent hitting their target.
Lange has been described as a "spark plug" by Coach Jake Ouimet, who believed the 5-foot-10, 155-pound forward played a large role in the Dukes' 2-0-1 start to the 2011 season, before stumbling to a 3-5-1 mark in the past few weeks.
"Austin's played really great, and you can just see his talent out there," Ouimet said after Duquesne's 1-1 draw with Stony Brook on Sept. 4. "He's really aggressive … That's the best way to describe him."
Lange thinks his coach's assessment is spot on.
"I try to add a little spark of energy that's always needed," Lange said. "I play really aggressively, and I think that matches up well with what Simon [Gomez] and Josh [Patterson] do."
Gomez and Patterson are finesse players with incredible ball skill, so Lange believes he brings a certain edge to the game that the Dukes need.
"[Gomez and Patterson] are great players, and if what they do is working in a game, then we're just going to feed them the ball," Lange said. "But if it isn't, then they can give it to me, and whether I have to run around [the defender], or run over them, I'll get the ball past them."
Lange has had that attitude throughout his soccer career, which started at the age of two when he began playing indoor soccer with his older sisters. Since then, he has played for club teams including Pittsburgh Strikers and FC Pittsburgh.
The freshman grew up in Apollo, 32 miles outside of Pittsburgh and chose to attend Duquesne partly because he wanted to remain in the area, but did turn down other local schools Slippery Rock and, most notably, West Virginia.
West Virginia is currently 4-3-1, including a decisive 3-1 victory over the Dukes, and produces a squad that finds itself in the top-25 annually. However, Duquesne's academic reputation drew Lange to the Bluff.
"The education here is outstanding and while [West Virginia] is a very nice school, they have nice facilities for their sports and everything there is nice, it's just not as prestigious of a school," he said.
Lange is a physician assistant major, a degree West Virginia's curriculum lacks, and believes the right choice for his future was to come to Duquesne. But Lange will focus on the present here, too. The Dukes are entering conference play in their next match and the banged-up forward plans on being an instrumental piece in the red and blue's hopes for an Atlantic 10 Tournament bid.
"I need to stay healthy. Right now I'm nursing a few injuries," he said. "Then I personally have to finish my chances. We've left a lot of chances out there, and I think we'll start burying them."