Hard-fought 1-1 draw against IUPUI wraps up adverse week for Flyers women’s soccer team

The Flyers (white, left) and Jaguars (red, right) huddle up before the start of overtime during Sunday’s 1-1 draw. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett | Sports Editor

After battling through a week of adversity, the Dayton Flyers women’s soccer team fought for a 1-1 draw against IUPUI Sunday at Baujan Field.

During Thursday’s 0-0 draw against Kentucky and Sunday’s draw, the Flyers were missing junior forward Laney Huber, redshirt sophomore winger Alicia Donley, sophomore defender Elle Lovdal, sophomore forward Itala Gemelli, sophomore midfielder Mia Perri and junior defender Audrey Steiert. 

All six players, who receive regular playing time for the Flyers, received no game time in either game and were not seen on the sideline during Sunday’s game. When asked about the status of the missing players (juniors Mackenzie Lutz and Jessica Sheldon did not play Sunday but were on the sideline), head coach Eric Golz said the team will “hope to get some people back and be at full strength soon.”

“I think that we’ve had to navigate through some adversity over the past few days,” Golz said. “I’m proud of the resolve and resilience to be able to find ways to provide opportunities to get results.”

Flyer News has learned that the missing players were absent due to Covid-19 (no confirmation whether positive tests or close contacts) and are currently quarantining, though the names of the players could not be officially provided. 

Once Sunday’s match arrived, Golz faced the additional challenge of placing players at positions they aren’t typically familiar with. 

“We had some challenges that forced us to look at some different things shape-wise and look at some different pairings personnel wise, so there was no there was some people that were playing, and in position to they hadn’t really prepared for train for, I think they did a tremendous job stepping up and rising up to the challenge and answering the bell and a couple of them were very impactful today.”

The Flyers started the first half dominating the field with significantly more attempts and defensive skills. The forwards had a lot of opportunities to score, but the Jaguars had a strong keeper that held the game close

Overall, the Flyers were solid until the 32nd minute, when an error just outside the penalty box led to a one-on-one for IUPUI’S Elizabeth Bueckers against Dayton sophomore goalkeeper Madelyn Dewey. Bueckers calmly struck the ball into the right side of the net to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead.

With a couple of chances to close the first half, the intensity ramped up in the second half. In the 53rd minute, with their goalless run reaching 253 minutes, sophomore midfielder Diana Benigno crossed the ball into the box, and after taking a slight deflection off an IUPUI defender, freshman winger Noel Blain hit a sliding volley into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.

“(Scoring the goal felt) amazing,” Blain said. “I was very excited about it, it was a team effort that was a long time coming. I’m just glad I was the one to put it in the back of the net.”

Blain said the goal to break their goalless run was simply a change of mentality.

“We just switched on to be like, ‘We need a goal now, we need to do this now.’”

The midfielders, senior Alexa Holl and Benigno, were able to dominate the last couple minutes of the half with their great footwork and control. Despite having more shots on goal, Dayton’s ability to split the defense wasn’t enough to break the tie.

 Through the next 52 minutes, both teams had a few attacking runs, but the last real chance came in the 105th minute during the second overtime, when freshman goalkeeper Maddie Crosbie elevated and just tipped the IUPUI shot over the crossbar. 

“We’ve got multiple good goalkeepers,” Golz said. “Between Madelyn and Maddie and Bella (Simoncelli), and Madelyn Dewey has played a significant number of minutes so far, so we wanted to give a different look and provide an opportunity to Maddie and just see how she responded, give her some experience in the field.”

Overall, Dayton had more attempts and opportunities than the Jaguars, but the keepers were too evenly matched for a team to come out winning.

Even through all the challenges of the last week, the Flyers’ record is still positive with 3 wins, 1 loss and 2 draws heading into the final week of non-conference play. 

Next up: hosting Ohio State on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Michigan State next Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.

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