By: Brendan Zdunek – Staff Writer
With another school week in the books, the Dayton men’s soccer team played its third Friday night home game in as many weeks. UD defeated Central Arkansas 2-1 in their first game of the Dayton Flyer Classic–a weekend slate that features two games for each of the four teams participating.
After a 1-1 tie between Liberty and Fort Wayne, the Dayton men’s soccer team won a dramatic game against Central Arkansas.
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They trailed most of the game, but the Flyers scored two goals late to put them up for the win.
“I was a little disappointed in the first half,” said head coach Dennis Currier after the game. “I thought our decision making was a little off so you knew in the second half we were going to have to grind out and find a way to win. I thought the last 20 minutes we played really inspiring soccer.”
The Flyers were aggressive on the offensive end with had nine shots, two of them shots on goal saved by Central Arkansas before any team could strike first. The aggressiveness extended to their defense, but more than they would’ve liked. A foul in the box on UD led to a successful penalty kick by Central Arkansas to put the Bears up 1-0 midway through the first half.
For the rest of the half, and most of the second half, the Flyers continued to be aggressive. They ended up with nine shots on goal and 23 shots total. However, they struggled to break the ice or put a goal on the board.
In the 64th minute, Lucas Genty of Central Arkansas nearly pushed the lead to 2-0 as he hit the post of the goal, a big break for the Flyers.
Finally, in the 79th minute, Dayton was able to break through with a goal by midfielder Nick Hagenkord, which tied the game. About 5 minutes later, freshman forward Thor Helgason, from Reykjavik, Iceland, scored on a cross kick to put the Flyers up late, and for good, 2-1.
“That moment was really quick,” said Helgason. “I saw Lance (Gaspar) and I just knew he would deliver and make a good service. I don’t know what really went through my head, but I just wanted to score for the crowd.”
Currier was happy to see his 6-foot-7 forward get the goal and snag the elusive lead. “I think there was a little bit of relief because I thought at that time we had taken over the game and we were getting chance after chance,” he said.
Dayton will play their second game of the weekend against Liberty on Sunday at 2 p.m., which Currier hopes will help with conference play.
“The biggest thing is recovery,” he surmised. “With that being said, our conference tournament is very demanding and we have three games in five days. So, we use this as a kind of preparation for that.”
Photo by Jessie McLaughlin/Staff Photographer