Dayton’s men’s soccer left Baujan Field on Thursday night empty handed after a brutal loss in overtime to the Davidson Wildcats. Davidson’s Henry Howell struck a curling shot from 25 yards out into the top left corner as the game was reaching its 100th minute to end the team’s hopes of coming away with a result.
“It’s an absolutely devastating loss,” head coach Dennis Currier said. “Their guy got a really nice shot off, and they got the win.”
As the game kicked off, it was Dayton that found themselves with most of the chances to score. The Flyers’ danger was coming from the wings, with junior Rok Taneski and freshman Jake Feiner getting in behind Davidson’s defense to create chances.
“We try to get out wide as much as we can,” Taneski said. “We were doing that really well, and they were allowing us to get a lot of space out wide.”
The Flyers’ attacking pressure reached its peak in the 20th minute when Taneski fired a shot on Davidson’s goal that hit both posts before rolling away.
“I think it was up to some higher forces tonight, because we were hitting the posts, the crossbar, really everything except the net,” Taneski added.
The Flyers’ defense has been exceptional all season long, and going into the second half they were really tested.
“In the second half Davidson really took over,” Currier said. “We weathered the storm, but we got out of the storm well.”
The central defensive pairing of sophomore Isaac Mensah and freshman Elias Harryson were mostly solid at the back, thwarting attack after attack from the Wildcats’ frontline. When the occasional shot leaked through, junior goalkeeper Federico Barrios was there to clean up the mess. His two saves included a quick reaction with his feet, and a diving effort to keep out a Davidson free kick.
In the 82nd minute, the Flyers finally had a break from the constant onslaught of Davidson attacks and found themselves on the break. Junior Daniel Dos Santos produced Dayton’s best chance of the game when his curling effort forced a nice save from Davidson’s keeper.
Neither team could find a breakthrough in the first 90 minutes, and for the fifth time this season, Dayton was heading into overtime.
“We had a tough preseason. So, we were ready for it physically, but another part of it is just trying to stay focused mentally,” Taneski said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t turn out the way you hope.”
Overtime ended in heartbreak after Howell’s golden goal.
“The positive is that the guys fought all the way to the end. They really left it all on the field,” Currier said.
Dayton will be looking snag their first win in the A-10 when they take on Rhode Island in Kingston on Oct. 13.