By: Jonny Jessup – Staff Writer and Daniel Massa – Sports Editor
It was quite the up and down, rollercoaster season for the Dayton women’s soccer team.
The Flyers finished the season with a record of 10-9-1. The Flyers got off to a slow start, as they opened the season losing their first five games. Of those five losses, four came by just one goal, signaling that the Flyers were not too far off from success.
Dayton finished the rest of their nonconference slate 2-2, heading into Atlantic 10 play with a 2-7 record.
The Flyers knew they had to make quite a turnaround during conference play if they wanted a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament.
Highlighted by strong senior leadership, the Flyers were able to make a run and dramatically turn around their season. UD led the conference in goals and assists, netting seven more goals (44) than the runner-up in that category, Davidson.
Seniors Ashley Campbell and Nicole Waters led the way in the points department. Campbell recorded 43 points with a team high of 17 goals. Waters tallied 29 points with a team-leading 17 assists.
Waters’ assist mark was second in the NCAA, while Campbell tied for seventh nationally in goals.
Due to these impressive feats, Campbell was named A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, and Waters was named the top midfielder. Campbell and Waters finished their careers as the program’s career leaders in goals (63) and assists (54), respectively. Head coach Mike Tucker had nothing but praise for these two players
“These are two of the best players we’ve had in this program,” Tucker said.
Following their impressive run in conference play, the Flyers earned the second seed in the A-10 championship, playing seventh-seeded Duquesne in the quarterfinals on Nov. 5. Dayton trailed by one goal going into the half, but Campbell scored early in the second to tie it up.
The game stayed tied at one through regulation, forcing overtime. Neither team was able to score in two overtime periods and the Flyers ended up losing a heartbreaker in PKs. Duquesne went all the way to win the Atlantic 10 championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
More than a week after the Duquesne game, Tucker is already looking forward to next season.
“Well it’s disappointing, we thought we would still be playing this time of year,” Tucker said. “We just couldn’t get it done. I’m not one for excuses. Next season we’re going to mix up the lines with girls who maybe haven’t played together and retool and see what happens.”
However, looking to the future, the Flyers have a lot of potential. Especially in rising junior forward Alexis Kiehl who had the third-most points this season and rising senior midfielder and Meghan Blank, who had the fourth-most points. They, along with many other returning players, will look to improve on the results of this season and get the Flyers back to the NCAA Tournament.