Chilling winds couldn’t overshadow a thrilling UD men’s soccer 1-0 win in double overtime over the Billikens Sunday night. Photo courtesy of Peter Burtnett, Flyer News.
With 13 seconds left on the clock in the second overtime, the Dayton Flyers men’s soccer team found the goal to finally break the scoreless tie after 110 minutes and win 1-0 over Saint Louis.
The season’s first match-up went to Saint Louis in a 2-0 Billikens home win on March 13. Flyers head coach Dennis Currier said the team “didn’t play well” in that loss, and said it was “redemption” to get the win Sunday.
In Sunday’s defensive showcase at wind-chilled Baujan Field, the Flyers and Billikens battled for a key win in the race for finishing first in the Atlantic 10 West division standings.
Facing a talented team with a lot of different scorers, Flyers head coach Dennis Currier highlighted the team earning their first clean sheet of the season.
“We talked about, on the clean sheets, a lot of that is just the mentality of defending. And tonight, I thought the mentality was much better defensively. We played safer, we needed to do that. We needed to play a little bit more direct against Saint Louis, so they did that throughout the entire match. It was great to get the first clean sheet of the season, and it came at a really good time in terms of playing against a good opponent like Saint Louis.”
The first 23 minutes went largely without any real chances, with three corner kicks taken between the two teams. But in the 24th minute, a header by Saint Louis was easily saved by freshman goalkeeper Marc Kouadio. One minute later, a yellow card was shown to freshman midfielder Michael Adedokun for a strong sliding tackle that took over a Billiken and a Flyer teammate.
The last chance of the first half was the clearest, and came in the final minute, when a shot by sophomore forward Bryce Glisson bounced back into play off the post. The game remained scoreless at halftime, with both teams earning two corner kicks each and one good chance at a goal.
The second half was much the same, with chances at a premium. Saint Louis did put the ball in the back of the net in the 69th minute, but the goal was called back for offsides.
Neither team had a major chance, and the two teams were set for overtime in a nil-nil game. But things ramped up in overtime.
In the first minute of overtime No. 1, the Flyers had a shot from junior midfielder Jake Feiner (remember his name) sail just over the crossbar. Then, after limited chances over the next nine minutes, the Billikens had a strong, straight shot hit the right post to leave the game scoreless.
Four shots around the goal came and went for the Billikens in the second overtime. Kouadio was forced to make two saves, bringing his game total up to six.
Then, the Flyers magical moment arrived off a set piece with 18 seconds left in overtime. Jake Feiner tells how events unfolded from the free kick after 10 seconds were put back on the clock:
“18 seconds on the clock, I thought they were going to put it back post, and (freshman midfielder) Joey (Tawah) hit a ball in, and it deflected off and I just kind of saw the opportunity and I just hit it near post. And the rest is history.”
After the ball hit the back of the net, Feiner and his teammates ran to the far corner to celebrate with a dog pile.
“It’s amazing. It was my first goal at Baujan (Field), for them to celebrate with me on the far corner, and it just shows what a family we are here, and my brothers have my back.”
As Feiner finished talking about the celebration, junior midfielder/forward Kingsford Adjei came over and yelled, “Come on!” Looking at the faces of the Flyers players after the game, the joy and elation was clear to see on their faces. From head coach Currier’s point of view, the game-winning goal was just as special.
“It’s college soccer,” Currier said with a chuckle. “Actually, the ball that (Tawah) hit was really supposed to go over the top. He ended up hitting a line drive, it looked like it skipped off some player in the middle, and then bounced to Feiner, who had the first chance of the first overtime. So it was good that he had another chance to put the ball away.”
With the win, the Flyers are in excellent position to win the A-10 West division and host the A-10 men’s soccer championships. The Billikens’ loss to Duquesne last week means they are now 2-2 in A-10 play, while the Flyers are 2-1-1.
“This game was big to try to get into control of our destiny,” Currier said. “We knew that if we got the win tonight, it would be in our control. But the work’s not done. We’ve got a great Duquesne team coming in (April 3), and then hitting the road against St. Bonaventure (April 10), which is a very difficult place to play. Certainly not over, but this is a big boost for us and now we’re in control of our own destiny, we don’t have to rely on others.”
The Flyers are now 2-3-1 on the season and 2-1-1 in A-10 play. They will finish with senior day against Duquesne April 3 at 4:30 p.m., and then travel to New York to face St. Bonaventure April 10 at 3 p.m.
Only UMass is currently better than or equal to the Flyers (also 2-1-1 in conference), so two wins could lock up home field advantage in the four-team A-10 championships.