Duquesne Women Let Two-Goal Lead Slip In A-10 Opener Against Richmond

Written by Ian Thomson

PITTSBURGH – It all seemed to be going so well for the Duquesne women’s team with 20 minutes of their Atlantic 10 Conference opener remaining on Friday night.

A second-half double from the Dukes’ leading scorer Maddie Layman had given the hosts a 2-0 lead over Richmond at Rooney Field after being forced onto the back foot for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Meaghan Carrigan kept the Spiders dangling around with a quick counter to narrow Richmond’s deficit. The redshirt freshman then matched Layman’s scoring exploits to rescue a 2-2 draw for the Virginians.

Duquesne’s regret at letting two points slip away will also be felt by the visitors. Richmond created the bulk of scoring chances outside of a 20-minute Duquesne flurry after the break. The crossbar prevented the Spiders from leading at the interval, and Carrigan came up short in her personal crusade to grab the winner in overtime.

Richmond's starting line-up at Duquesne
Richmond’s starting line-up at Duquesne

Richmond lined up in a 3-4-3 formation that gave them an extra body in midfield to control possession. Lexi Prillaman received the first decent chance of the night on 18 minutes when a long left-to-right switch by Ashley Riefner caused some indecision from Devon Tabata in Duquesne’s goal.

Tabata backtracked onto her 6-yard line leaving Prillaman with a shooting chance from the right corner of the 18-yard box that the senior goalkeeper dealt with low at her near post.

Carrigan robbed the ball from Duquesne center-back Abby Weber on 29 minutes to set up a 2-vs-2 counter. She could not find teammate Shannon Colligan with her intended cutback and the Dukes’ defense cleared the danger.

The goal frame saved Duquesne four minutes later when Olivia Aha rifled a left-foot shot from 25 yards that Tabata may just have got a fingertip to before the ball cannoned from her crossbar.

Duquesne’s attacking shape seemed sunken in the first half. Center-forward Linnea Faccenda took an early knock that required her to take a 7-minute breather. She sat too deep upon her return and failed to trouble Richmond’s central defender Hannah Cornman.

Maddie Layman's double gave Duquesne a 2-0 lead before Richmond fought back (Photo: Ian Thomson).
Maddie Layman’s double gave Duquesne a 2-0 lead before Richmond fought back (Photo: Ian Thomson).

Faccenda showed that she could have success when she stayed high up the field. She rolled Cornman with a neat spin on one occasion before freeing Cydney Staton on the left wing. Staton cut inside before forcing Spiders goalkeeper Katie Brennan into a rare save.

That fleeting glimpse set the tone for Duquesne’s early second-half surge. Faccenda forced Cornman into conceding a corner kick on 50 minutes. Layman swiveled to lash home a loose ball after Richmond’s defense could not fully clear Faccenda’s delivery.

Confidence began flowing through Faccenda’s play. She turned sharply away from Dana Bernetich before sending a shot over Brennan’s crossbar from the edge of the penalty box. Faccenda’s hold-up play initiated a neat combination shortly afterward that ended with Staton testing Richmond’s goalkeeper from 25 yards.

A second Duquesne goal was looking likely. It arrived from the penalty spot on 64 minutes after Faccenda had cut in from the right to force Cornman into a rash challenge as she prepared to shoot. Layman drilled her kick high inside Brennan’s right post to notch her fifth goal of the season.

The remainder of the game should have been an exercise in playing out the clock. Carrigan sparked a Richmond revival instead by steering a cross into Tabata’s net on 71 minutes after Colligan and Aha had created space down the left.

Richmond equalized seven minutes later via a contentious free kick that was executed in style. Colligan swung over a dangerous cross from the right edge of the penalty area, from tight against the end line, and Carrigan timed her deep run to perfection to bullet home an unstoppable header from six yards.

The tempo of the game had changed drastically. Richmond lifted the pace during a lengthy spell of possession, pulling Duquesne around the field before Carrigan tested Tabata from 20 yards.

A howling wind sweeping across Duquesne’s hilltop facility compounded the Dukes’ struggles in dealing with set pieces. Carrigan mistimed her swing at a volley with four minutes remaining when a corner kick dropped to her at a congested near post. It was a difficult chance, but one that a player with 10 goals this season could have done better with.

Overtime saw Carrigan’s pursuit of a third goal to complete her hat-trick and end the contest in Richmond’s favor continuing. The Greenville, South Carolina native drove a free kick over the top in the first added period before snatching at another loose ball from a corner kick early in the second period.

Duquesne's starting 11
Duquesne’s starting 11

Duquesne’s threat had been extinguished by now. A 30-yard chasm appeared between the Dukes’ front three and the remaining seven outfield players that allowed Richmond to win the ball higher up the field.

The Spiders, however, were unable to fashion one last opening as Kahli Hale’s determination at the heart of Duquesne’s defense inspired her teammates to hold firm. Carrigan fired one final effort high and wide from a range that smacked of over-ambition rather than expectation.

Duquesne (3-5-3, 0-0-1 A-10) stays in Pittsburgh for its next conference contest against Davidson on Sunday. Richmond (6-5-1, 0-0-1 A-10) returns home to host St. Bonaventure at Robins Stadium.


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