By: Steve Miller – Sports Editor
The Dayton women’s soccer team polished off a sterling Atlantic 10 Tournament with a 7-0 victory over the top-seeded Saint Joseph’s Hawks Sunday afternoon at the University of Rhode Island Soccer Complex. It was the Flyers’ 10th ever A10 Championship–a league record–and also head coach Mike Tucker’s 10th career title.
“I don’t know that anybody could have called that, including us,” said Tucker, whose team entered the tournament as the seventh seed. “I thought we had a chance if we played well, and we played beyond well. That’s about as good as I’ve ever even believed that this team could do. It’s all about coming together at the right time.”
After victories over Saint Louis and George Washington, 3-0 and 2-0, to begin the tournament, the Flyers scored a league tournament record seven goals against the Hawks for the championship.
Those seven goals were scored by midfielder Libby Leedom (three), forward Alexis Kiehl (two), midfielder Beth Kamphaus and midfielder Michaela Livingston.
Leedom was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player with four goals and two assists over the three games. Kiehl scored five goals and added two assists over the three games, setting a tournament record for most points recorded.
“It’s been magical, the two of them, how they’ve managed to have a chemistry that is amazing,” said Tucker. “That is really hard for anyone to defend, and they were just in top form here, as [was] anybody that stepped on the field. It’s gratifying to see, and I’m really proud of all those girls.”
Along with Leedom and Kiehl, Livingston, Nadia Pestell, Nicolette Griesinger and goalie Kaelyn Johns were named to the A10 All-Championship Team.
Saint Joseph’s had not allowed more than two goals to be scored against them in a game all season before the Flyers dropped a seven spot on Sunday. And the only other time the Hawks had been shutout this year was when they played No. 25 Rutgers University.
Dayton improves to 9-9-3 on the season, while SJU now stands at 18-2-2.
With the conference title, UD earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will be Monday, Nov 7 at 4:30 p.m.
“I like our chances against anyone right now with the way we’re playing,” said Tucker. “If we can stay loose and continue to play like this, I don’t think anyone will want to play against us for sure.”
Photo Courtesy Ken Jancef, #9 Senior Libby Leedom