With one game left in non-conference play, Dayton’s women’s soccer team came out flat against it’s biggest rival on Thursday night. The Xavier Musketeers comfortably took down the Flyers 2-0.
“Our decision making was off tonight, technically we were off tonight, it was not a good performance by us,” head coach Eric Golz said.
The game started off positively for the Flyers. Junior midfielder Jordan Pauley provided the last second heroics in Dayton’s victory over Xavier last year, and was almost the spark plug again as her corner kick nearly lead to a goal in the fourth minute. Freshman defender Grace Rickett was able to head the ball on goal, but the Xavier defense cleared the shot off the line.
The rest of the first half was played mostly in the midfield, with neither team able to hold possession long.
“When we did get opportunities, we kind of coughed up the ball,” Pauley said. “We just need to be more comfortable and composed in possession going forward.”
Most of the best chances in the first half fell to the Musketeers, but senior goalkeeper Kaelyn Johns was able to keep the Flyers in the game, making six saves in the first half alone.
The deadlock didn’t last long after the second half began. Xavier’s Samantha Dewey found herself unmarked outside of the box and unleashed a curling shot into the bottom left corner of Dayton’s goal.
The Flyers’ struggled to muster any sort of response to Xavier’s goal. UD had trouble completing passes in the midfield as well as creating chances. The Flyers’ were only able to challenge Xavier’s keeper twice all game, with both of their shots on goal coming in the first half.
“We were missing some important players centrally tonight, and I think that really showed,” coach Golz said. “I think we struggled in the middle of the field tonight in terms of maintaining possession, using our central players, winning balls and disrupting things defensively. It was an area that hurt us tonight.”
Xavier piled the misery on the Flyers by doubling their lead with mere seconds remaining in the game. Dewey turned from scorer to distributor as her cross into the box put enough pressure on the defense to lead to a Dayton own goal.
“You saw us give up the ball in the last three or four seconds, I think it just comes down to staying tuned in all the time,” Pauley said.
Despite coming off a disappointing loss, the Flyers are actively looking to take some sort of positive out it.
“I thought there were moments that could’ve gone either way,” coach Golz said. “Unfortunately, tonight those went Xavier’s way. I think learning the margins and how small they are when you’re playing a good team is a great lesson heading into conference play.”
Dayton opens conference play in the Atlantic-10 against George Mason next Thursday at 7 p.m. in Fairfax, Virginia.