Home fans at Sweeney Field on a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia were ready to celebrate a Saint Joseph’s win in the program’s first ever home postseason game when the Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
Duquesne scored off two set pieces on the right flank — a corner kick in the 85th minute and a free kick near the corner flag in the 88th minute — to stun the home fans and snatch the program’s first Atlantic 10 Championship win since 2002.
Playing in their first postseason match since 2013, the Hawks pushed the issue throughout much of the first half, firing off 10 shots to the Dukes 5 and finished with an advantage on the day of 19-8 shots and 6-5 on shots on target. They found the breakthrough when a shot was initially saved but bounced off Matias Mancini and into the goal in the 80th minute.
Unlike the first meeting between the two teams this season a couple weeks ago at Sweeney Field in which the Hawks erased a 1-0 deficit with three unanswered goals, it was the hosts who struggled with the lead and ultimately conceded twice in a chippy affair that ended with an on-field scuffle and Dukes players chirping both at their opponents and the fans in the stands.
The loss for the men’s team followed a 2-0 loss to UMass in the Atlantic 10 semifinals for the women’s team on Friday afternoon in Dayton. It also added a sour note on an otherwise historic season for the Hawks, which with eight wins tied for the most under head coach Don D’Ambra in his 12 seasons at the helm.
Saint Joe’s finished the season with an overall record of 8-9-2 and a 5-2-1 mark in the Atlantic 10.