By Matt Strauss
The St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team makes their second trip to Duquesne University this season. This time they will play their Atlantic 10 travel partner, the Dukes. It will be each team’s third Atlantic 10 matchup of the season. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The Bonnies and the Dukes were both in Philadelphia last weekend for games against St. Joseph’s and La Salle. Both Duquesne and Bonaventure beat St. Joe’s, but lost to the Explorers of La Salle. Duquesne opened up with La Salle on Friday night, which ended in a 3-1 loss. They turned it around quickly by beating the Hawks 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. Duquesne and the Bonnies have two other common opponents: Howard and Incarnate Word. Both of those schools came to the Duquesne Invitational earlier in the year. Duquesne won both of those games in 1-0 shutout fashion. The Bonnies outscored both schools by a combined 7-2 in the same weekend.
Duquesne enters the game with a 6-5 record overall, including a perfect 4-0 record at home this season. They have scored 13 goals and given up 11 goals through 11 games this year. Their leading producer is Swedish junior Josh Ellis. He has started only once this season, and adds valuable depth coming off the bench. He leads the team in points with seven, coming from three goals and an assist.
However, the strength of Duquesne is at the back. Although they have given up 11 goals so far this season, they have yet to give up a goal in a win yet this season. All six Duquesne wins have been shutouts. In wins this year, the Dukes have outscored their opponents 10-0. Oppositely, in losses, they have been outscored 11-3. The key for the Bonnies will be to find their way on to the scoreboard as early as possible to add pressure to the home team.
The Bonnies will see a bit of a change to the lineup on Saturday, as they will be without starting central defender Eric Smolarek, who will be serving a suspension due to a red card he received in the La Salle game last Sunday. However, they will be hoping for continued production from the regular trio of seniors: Nick Perillo, Brad Vanino, and Emmett O’Connor. O’Connor is tied for third in the Atlantic 10 in points with 15, and is tied for the team lead in goals with five. Last weekend, as a team, the Bonnies notched three goals and one assist. Perillo, Vanino, and O’Connor combined for two of those goals and the lone assist, which gives them a season total of 13 goals and 14 assists. That translates into 65 percent of the Bonnies total scoring offense this season.
After Saturday’s matchup with Duquesne, the Bonnies will be in action next at home against the St. Louis Billikens on Friday, Oct. 25. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.