By: Steve Miller – Staff Writer
Hosting the nationally ranked Texas A&M Aggies Sunday at Baujan Field, the women’s soccer team struggled to jumpstart its offense and fell 3-1 in the afternoon contest. Sophomore forward Alexis Kiehl scored Dayton’s lone goal in the 73rd minute, one of only three shots on target for UD, who fell to 1-6-0 on the year.
Coming off Friday’s offensive showcase, in which the team scored five goals in their 5-2 win against Rice, Dayton looked to put the pressure on early against the No. 6-ranked Aggies. Instead, A&M kept the ball in their offensive half for much of the first 45 minutes, leading to two first-half goals. A&M’s second goal came as a result of a defensive misplay by the Flyers. Aggie Haley Pounds received a pass and slipped right between two Dayton defenders, eventually winning a one-on-one with Flyer goalie Kaelyn Johns.
The Flyers came out stronger in the second half, eventually getting on the scoreboard in the 73rd minute. Senior midfielder Nicole Waters lined up up a free kick from 50 yards out, which she served up toward the box. Senior forward Ashley Campbell headed the pass further towards the goal, where Kiehl put it past the Aggie goalkeeper.
The Flyers kept the pressure up for the next 10 minutes before A&M broke through again and scored an insurance goal, going up to 3-1. Six minutes later, time expired on the Flyers’ sixth loss of the season.
“Well, we thought from the very get go that if we did a good job of keeping the ball that we could attack them,” head coach Mike Tucker said in a postgame interview. “The problem was we had so many unforced passing errors that it was just ridiculous.”
“We made a couple of elementary errors to give away two really, really easy goals in the first half,” he said. “And I don’t think you can beat many good teams when you do that.”
For 50 consecutive minutes, though, between the Aggies’ second and third goals, the Flyers did keep A&M off the scoreboard.
“For playing three in the back, our defenders and wide midfield players did a fine job of defending,” Tucker said.
That defensive play was what kept Dayton in the game for so long.
“We talked at halftime that we thought we had a great opportunity to play level with a really top-ranked team,” he said. “And I still think we can. We just never really put long stretches where we did that. When we did it in short stretches, we were really good.”
Redshirt sophomore midfielder Libby Leedom shared a similar sentiment.
“The biggest takeaway is that we can play with the best of them,” she said after the loss. “If we start stringing together 90 minutes now, we can start beating the best of them.”
The Flyers will take a two-game road trip out west at the end of this week. They travel to California Polytechnic for a game Friday at 10 p.m. and California, Santa Barbara for a Sunday matchup at 4 p.m.