By: Edward Perez – Staff Writer
The Dayton Flyers Men’s Soccer team heads into Atlantic 10 Conference play with a current record of 3-5-1. Despite the underwhelming performance so far, head coach Dennis Currier has high hopes for the team he has been watching develop throughout the season.
“We have taken steps forward and then we have taken steps back, which is very common for a team that has a lot of new players,” Currier said in a recent interview. “This year we knew there was going to be this process involved…And we’re trying to speed that process up as much as we can because we’re now in conference.”
The Flyers have not played at home since September 4, and will have played six consecutive away games when they set foot back on Baujan Field October 5. That sixth and final game of the road trip, a 0-0 draw at Massachusetts, kicked off A 10 Conference play.
Elsewhere on the Flyers’ road trip, they dropped two games at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Classic, picked up a 1-1 tie at Bowling Green, a 1-0 loss at Oakland, and a 1-0 victory against Liberty.
Coach Currier was pleased they entered the conference schedule with a win. “We took a nice big step forward against Liberty on the road, we got a win,” he said. “We grinded out that win in the last five to six minutes when there was a lot of pressure on us.”
Despite winning just one game on the road trip, the team saw it as a stepping stone in their growing process this season. “I’ve felt that over the past three games, we’ve grown with each game,” Currier said. “Even in the loss against Oakland, you can tell we learned a lot of lessons and we played very well.. We were all over them, we just couldn’t finish.”
Being the defending Atlantic 10 Conference champions, it is especially important for the team to make a statement in the opening games of conference play. Currier fully expects his team to be strong contenders for the title again this season. “We’re still in it, this is our biggest chance to get into the NCAA tournament,” he said. “I’ve actually felt the last two weeks have been very positive.”
The focus for Currier’s side, as he states, is to implement a system of attractive and effective style of play. “The team is playing the same system as last year,” he said. “What we’re falling short [on] is we’re not as effective as we were last year in goal scoring, obviously.”
Even in losses, his side has been more effective in passing and possession against the opposition. We’ve out-possessed teams, we’ve outshot teams, we’ve been the aggressor in all the games so we’ve been doing a lot of good things,” Currier said. “But ultimately, we are in a game of results and we fall short of that. So that’s the next step, is how to get those results on a consistent basis.”
“I think we have now learned that next step, which is how to compete. And that’s part of the process,” said Currier. “A division one game is so different than anything overseas, than anything here in the U.S. high school, U.S. club [level], and it’s just learning that. It’s learning what grit is and why it’s important to be fit, how to manage a game.”
The Flyers come back home on Wednesday, October 5 to face Fordham and will remain at home to face Saint Louis on Saturday, October 8.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Cubacub/Staff Photographer