Dayton misses NCAA’s after early A10 exit

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University of Dayton men’s soccer players react after losing an A-10 first round game against La Salle University, Thursday, Nov. 14, at Baujan Field. UD lost in penalty kicks after overtime. (San Kumar/ Staff Photographer)

By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor

For the second time this season, the University of Dayton men’s soccer team and La Salle University went into overtime.

In the two team’s Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinal matchup Nov. 14, at Baujan Field, it came down to penalty kicks and the final round of shots.

La Salle senior goalkeeper John McCarthy made the game-winning save in the fifth round of penalties, and La Salle advanced over Dayton 1-1, with a 3-2 penalty kick advantage.

McCarthy made a season-high 12 saves during regulation time while facing 31 total shots from Dayton, 12 of which were on goal.

“It’s always a tough way to end a season,” head coach Dennis Currier said. “I was proud of how the guys fought. At the end of the day, their goalkeeper came up huge for them. They weathered a ton of storms and we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”

La Salle (8-8-4) scored the first goal of the match in the 12th minute after sophomore goalkeeper Chris Froschauer misplayed a ball in front of his own net. The ball bounced behind him to where La Salle senior midfielder Jason Plumhoff, who is the A10’s Offensive Player of the Year, was able to put the ball in uncontested for the early lead.

Dayton (14-3-2) netted an equalizer in the 33rd minute after a scramble in front of the La Salle net allowed junior forward Greg Enstone to sneak one by McCarthy for the 1-1 tie. Junior forward Amass Amankona was credited with an assist on the play.

UD outshot La Salle 9-4 in the first half, and the two teams were tied in corner kick attempts at two each.

Dayton had most of the scoring chances in the second period, where it out shot La Salle 19-7, but was unable to get one through. McCarthy made eight of his 12 saves during the second half.

“Last three games, we’ve been doing really well keeping the other team on their back feet,” Currier said. “Keep putting the press on and just being relentless. Just unfortunate we couldn’t get more goals, but we got a lot of chances.”

Plumhoff got off three of La Salle’s five shots on goal in the match.

Dayton entered the tournament on a three-game winning streak, and started it by defeating La Salle 3-2 in two overtimes on Nov. 3, in Philadelphia, Pa.

The 48-team NCAA tournament field was announced Monday, Nov. 18, and Dayton did not receive an at-large bid, ending its season.

Two other teams from the A-10 will be competing for the College Cup, including tournament champion George Mason University after its 1-0 victory against the regular season champion and tournament’s top seed, Saint Louis University, in the finals. Mason defeated SLU with a penalty kick goal in the 82nd minute.

Mason will open its tournament playing at the College of William and Mary Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m., in Wiliamsburg, Va.

The other conference participant will be Virginia Commonwealth University, who was defeated by Mason in the A-10 semifinals 3-2 by a goal 34 seconds into overtime. VCU will host the United States Naval Academy Thursday at 7 p.m.
SLU, who defeated La Salle in the other A-10 semifinal, also did not receive a bid to the NCAA tournament to end its season.