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-   -   WSOC: Dayton Earns 2-0 Shutout Over Davidson (http://www.udpride.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31265)

Chris R 10-01-2017 07:27 PM

WSOC: Dayton Earns 2-0 Shutout Over Davidson
The Dayton Flyers rebounded from their worst loss in A10 regular season history earlier in the week - a 4-0 drubbing at LaSalle -- with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Davidson Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at Baujan Field. After a scoreless 1st half, UD struck twice in the final 45 minutes to earn their fifth shutout in six matches. The Flyers improve to 7-5-1 (2-1-1) and remain unscored upon at Baujan Field this year. Davidson falls to 2-11-0 (0-4-0).

The opening half of soccer started slow and never really got in a forward gear for either team. The Flyers and Wildcats exchanged possession several times in the first moments of the game, but had trouble staying organized once encroaching into their respective offensive thirds. Davidson tried to play wide at teams -- particularly to the left side -- but Quincy Kellett shut the door on most of those chances. She returned to the Flyer lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a red card in the George Mason match.

Absent however was left fullback Nadia Pestell. That forced the other Flyer back line players (Nicollete Griesinger, Beth Kamphaus, and Hanna Merritt) to make up the difference. While no single player can do what Pestell can do out of the back line, they did well as a collective unit to stay compact and organized over the first 45 minutes. Davidson's best chances to score came on crosses in the box -- hoping something in the mixer would find a friendly bounce for a toe-poke in the net. Battling 1 vs. 1 however with UD defenders was not nearly as effective and Dayton's back line never got caught with a player running behind them for an unimpeded look at the goal mouth.

Offensively however, Dayton continued to struggle. After reaching midfield, service into the offensive half of the field remained systemically problematic. Electing to use pitching wedges rather than a putter, the Wildcat back line had little trouble picking off Dayton service when defending near their own goal box.

Each side appeared frustrated at the lack of cohesiveness on offense. For most of the 1st half the match was evenly played with defense being the storyline. By halftime, UD had a 10-7 advantage in shots while Davidson earned a 6-2 lead in corner kicks. Few shots by either team were downright dangerous however -- aside from a tip over the crossbar midway through the first half by UD goalkeeper Kaelyn Johns.

The 2nd half was a step forward for Dayton. More assertive to the ball and displaying better movement, the Flyers were able to open up some holes in the Davidson defense and create a handful of dangerous scoring chances as the final 45 minutes played out. Better yet, Davidson had fewer chances on offense as the Flyer D buckled down and effectively took the Wildcat offense completely out of the match. Aside from a through-ball that got behind the last Flyer defender (that Johns ultimately saved in the box), Davidson never seriously threatened after intermission.

The Flyers stepped up and proved to be the better side, but goals remained hard to come by. That changed in the 55th minute when Micayla Livingston and Keagin Collie teamed up to push the ball into the box where Alexis Kiehl finished the redirect for the 1-0 Dayton advantage.

Suddenly the pressure was off and potential thoughts of an upset to a 2-10 squad seemed less likely. It became almost unthinkable just two minutes later when Livingston knocked a ball along the baseline that somehow squirted past Wildcat GK Becca Ravitz to make the score 2-0. Livingston was in the right place at the right time, but it was also a goalkeeping gaff of biblical proportions.

With the writing on the wall, the remaining half hour of the match played out with little drama. Davidson continued to kick balls into the Flyer goal box, but most of them had no specific targets. On the other end, Dayton worked the flanks with Caroline Mink along the left side trying to dribble-drive her defender for open crosses in the box. There would be no more scoring in the final 30 minutes but Dayton owned the 2nd half and progressively got stronger as the match wore on.

Second half stats were even in shots (8-8) while corner kicks favored UD 2-1. Overall stats were also even in shots on goal (8-8).

Credit once again goes to the Flyer defense for posting their fifth shutout in six matches -- and forgetting about the mid-week debacle at LaSalle. They did it without their best defender in the lineup as well. Davidson has a snowball's chance of making the A10 postseason tournament as a Top-8 seed, so this was a match the Flyers should have won in convincing fashion. While there were few style points awarded on Sunday and most of the weaknesses this year continued to plague today's game -- lack of quality service, lack of dynamic playmaking in the middle third -- the Flyers started slow and finished the match playing as the much better side. Shutouts should always be celebrated as well. Merritt did well in place of Pestell at left fullback. While she lacks the quicks and offensive punch Pestell, she's a much bigger body and can impose some physicality in the box -- especially on set piece clearaways. Kamphaus was clean all afternoon as a central defender, while LeRoy added some hustle in the midfield. Alexis Kiehl's touches however remain few and far between.

UD must play much better if they have any chance against league-favorite Saint Louis on Thursday. The Bills are 11-1-1 and in all likelihood the best opponent Dayton will face all season. Ironically, UD can take a huge step in the A10 race by beating SLU because both teams have one conference loss. It will be a huge task however and a different Flyer team must take the field next week than what fans have seen over the first seven weeks of the season.

Match pics available on Twitter and Instagram @UDPride

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