DUBUQUE — The Duhawks have had to rely on the comeback lately, as they’ve fallen behind early in each of the last four games.
“We need to bring energy from the beginning,” said head coach Dan Rothert. “Everyone gives us their best game in the first 15-20 minutes, and we need to handle that storm better. If we can do that, we will be in much better shape and not have to chase the game. We’ve come back on all but one occasion, but this is not good enough. We need to start clicking on all cylinders as we enter conference play and not be in a hole to start a game.”
Last Thursday, the Duhawks faced off against the University of Chicago in the Rock Bowl. Chicago made their first tally on the scoreboard in the 13th minute. Soon after, in the 22nd minute, there was a miscommunication between Loras’ sophomore goalkeeper Adam Roloff and senior outside back Mitch Burgmeier. The two collided outside of the goal, giving University of Chicago’s forward an open opportunity for goal number two. Loras played every man on their roster in the first half but were still unable to find the back of the net.
It wasn’t far into the second-half when the Duhawks were able to find their groove, as senior Mike Pizzello found the net in the 52nd minute to make the game 2-1. Just eight minutes later, senior Dillon Olson drew a penalty kick that was taken and put away by junior Jorge Simon to equalize the match.
With the score tied, both teams failed to pull ahead with a third goal and the game entered extra time. With golden goal applying, the first ten minute overtime period remained scoreless. Minutes into the second overtime, senior JD Perez found the back of the net with a shot from the top of the 18 to ensure the win over University of Chicago for the Duhawks.
With that win under their belt, the Duhawks only had a few days to prepare for their match against UW-Oshkosh on Sunday. The men struggled again in the beginning of the game, coming out slow and letting Oshkosh take control. The Duhawks fell behind early as Oshkosh scored two goals in the first-half. The Duhawks had to come out in the second-half with a new-found energy, or a loss was coming their way.
This energy finally came from senior Mike Pizzello in the 47th minute, when he finished off a deflection from one of Oshkosh’s defenders making the score 2-1. With the lone goal, the men struggled to put in the equalizer. With one minute left on the clock, it seemed as though there was little hope.
Luckily, with 20 seconds left in the match the Duhawks were awarded a corner kick. As the ball was tossed around the box by both teams, it ended at the foot off Pizzello at the top of the six where he was able to put past Oshkosh’s goal keeper to equalize the game. After two twenty minute overtime periods, the match remained 2-2, giving the Duhawks their first draw of the season and an overall record of 7-1-1.
“During both half-times, the main message from coach was that we need to come out with more energy from the start,” said Pizzello. “[He said] it was too slow and it didn’t look like Loras soccer. We could all feel the lack of energy at half and we just said to each other that it’s going to take a lot of effort to come back, but we’re not going down without a fight. We need to prove to ourselves and everyone else out there that this team is good enough to come back from a deficit and that we have the determination to succeed.”
The men will now have some time off as they are not scheduled to play until Saturday against Central College, their first conference match of the season.