By: Meaghan McNichol – Staff Writer
After a 1-1 tie against George Mason University Friday, the Dayton’s men’s soccer opened the Atlantic 10 schedule 1-0-1 and now look to the University of Massachusetts for another A-10 match Friday. Overall, the tie pushed the team’s record to 5-3-3.
Entering the season, the team graduated eight seniors changing their dynamic completely, according to head coach Dennis Currier.
“Coming into this season I think there were some unanswered questions just because we lost so many players. But with that, we had a good spring and we returned a very talented sophomore class and some juniors,” Currier said.
Two exhibition losses to open the season could have created cause for concern amongst the coaching staff and in the locker room.
“I think that we not only recovered, but we ended up growing tremendously over the last seven games and we’re putting together a really nice season for a team that lost so many good seniors” Currier said.
The coaches formed a leadership group, which consists of mostly juniors.
It’s the leadership group’s responsibility to serve the team, according to Currier. They have to be aware of successes and difficulties the team is having on and off the field, with a duty to constantly communicate.
“I think their responsibility has to be to educate the new guys on the team on the playing, on the conference, on what each game is going to entail, road travel and all the details that our program is all about,” Currier said.
The team kicked off A-10 Oct. 4 against nationally ranked Davidson College.
The Flyers defeated Davidson 2-0, serving them their first loss of the season.
Although the team stays consistent in their game preparations, A-10 games demand more awareness from both players and coaches.
Due to the fact that a team’s record in the A-10 directly influences their chances to make the NCAA and conference tournaments, Currier recognizes that before each A-10 match the team must pay close attention to who they are playing, where they are playing and potential adversities the team may face.
On Friday, the Flyers took on reigning A-10 champions, George Mason University.
The team battled, dominating the majority of the game with a 1-0 lead but let up a goal in the last 12 seconds of regulation play, bringing the game into overtime.
After two scoreless overtimes the game ended in a draw, leaving both teams with a point.
“I thought it was a great college game. It had almost everything in it. It had ups and downs, different flip of the match and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, but, unfortunately in the last five minutes, we weren’t able to deal with all of the adversity that was thrown at us,” Currier said.
Currier said the team was successful in pressuring the ball and had impressive ball speed in the attacking zone. As regulation turned into overtime, the team continued to keep their determination.
“I think last night they did a fantastic job in overtime because it was heart-breaking right when they scored with 12 seconds,” Currier said. “We came out the first 10 minutes of the overtime, and I thought we controlled the tempo of the game being a man down.”
The team has room for improvement as the season goes on. Currier plans to focus on the little things during practice and work to sharpen the abilities of his players.
“Every game, whether you win lose or draw, you’re always trying to learn,” Currier said. “Going into Monday we want to make sure that we learn from some of the mistakes that were made in the game, constantly improving.”