By: Steve Miller – Staff Writer
On a drizzly Friday night at Baujan Field, the Dayton women’s soccer team recorded its first win of the season, defeating the Rice Owls 5-2. The Flyers are now 1-5-0 on the year.
Sophomore midfielder Sidney LeRoy and junior midfielder Meghan Blank each scored their first goals of the season early on in the first half, and both finished the game with two goals. Senior forward Ashley Campbell also scored for the Flyers.
LeRoy’s first goal was a line drive from the top of the box, putting UD ahead, 2-0, 17 minutes into the first half.
“Well it’s wet outside so I just thought if I shot, the keeper would have a hard time handling it,” LeRoy said in a postgame interview. “And that’s what happened.”
Five minutes later, she buried her second goal, slipping the ball right between the keeper’s legs and giving the Flyers a 3-0 advantage. They never looked back.
At halftime, the score stood at 4-1, and the Flyers cruised to victory with each team scoring once in the second half.
“You could probably hear the sigh of relief from me,” head coach Mike Tucker said after his team’s first win of the season. “And as it got to halftime, I felt pretty good at 4-1. I thought we were playing well enough that we would score another goal or so, and we did.”
While the first win of the season is exciting, it means more to Tucker and the team.
“It’s huge, it’s not about the winning as much as finally getting to doing what we’re capable of doing,” Tucker said. “If we can keep that going and get a couple more people healthy again, it should be back in order for us.”
“Our team was just stressed because we had played well but everything had turned out unlucky for us,” LeRoy said of the team’s five consecutive losses to start the season. “And finally we’re coming out with a win.”
Dayton’s five goals Friday are a great sign for the team’s attack, which had scored just three total goals over the first five games.
“We changed our alignment: We added some wide midfield players,” Tucker said of the strategy. “Two forwards are hard to defend, particularly when they’re quality [players].”
“We took a little risk in the back playing with only three, but they did a heck of a job,” he continued. “And then we went into defense mode in the second half, played a 4-5-1 and still got just enough attack. It all worked as planned, and you’re happy as a coach when that happens.”
The Flyers’ next matchup is Sunday at home against Texas A&M. The Aggies are currently ranked 6th in the nation, owners of a 5-1-0 record and easily Dayton’s toughest matchup this season.
“We have a tall order in front of us on Sunday,” Tucker said of the upcoming game. “We played them really well last year, and I expect we will again this year.”
The game will be at 1 p.m. at Baujan Field.