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MSOC: Flyers Top Patriots 5-2 in Quagmire; Earn #4 A10 Tourney Seed
MSOC: Flyers Top Patriots 5-2 in Quagmire; Earn #4 A10 Tourney Seed
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile MSOC: Flyers Top Patriots 5-2 in Quagmire; Earn #4 A10 Tourney Seed

The Dayton Flyers fell behind 1-0 to George Mason on Wednesday night, an opponent still winless in the A10 conference. The deficit was short-lived however as UD struck for three goals to take a 3-1 halftime advantage. Second half scoring by both sides didn't change the outcome as UD won 5-2 in a torrential downpour at Baujan Field. UD improves to 9-7-2 (6-2-0) and earns the #4 seed in the A10 Tourney -- a first round game the Flyers will host on Saturday vs #5 Fordham. The Patriots end the season at 5-9-2 (0-7-1).

With terrible weather conditions including a steady rain and temperatures in the low 40s, both teams did their best to overcome the elements and the deteriorating field conditions in the first minutes of the opening half. While Baujan Field's conditions got worse as the game progressed, it's probably the only natural grass surface in the A10 capable of withstanding so much rain and still being halfway playable. Standing water along the touch lines and in certain patches of the midfield were unavoidable, but the surface outperformed itself and should recover in time for this weekend's A10 Tournament first round match.

Until then however, the Flyers had work to do and Mason jumped out in front for the early 1-0 lead in the 11th minute after UD allowed a Mason attacking player to get behind the last defender along the left flank of the goal box. GK Justin Saliba had no chance to stop the chip to the far post.

The deficit didn't dampen UD's spirits however because they stomed back with a scoring flurry to put the match out of reach in a span of four minutes. Rok Taneski got the scoring started in the 16th minute on a slotted ball near the left post to make it 1-1. Wariebi Jituboh scored one minute later to put the Flyers ahead for good. Taneski converted a PK in the 20th minute for the 3-1 lead and suddenly the rout was on.

Dayton could have found the net a couple more times in the 1st half but couldn't convert some great looks inside the George Mason goal box. UD did exceedingly well in spite of the deplorable playing conditions and were routinely shoving service to open players running free in the offensive half of the field. Dribble-drives were difficult to pull off, but UD did their best under the circumstances and still found ways to create scoring chances.

Not only did UD create the better scoring chances, they also had the better run of play. Because of standing water, many passes and tactics were compromised but the Flyers possessed a better work rate and controlled the ball for longer stretches.

With the 3-1 halftime lead, the one variable preventing the score from being entirely comfortable was the continued deteriorating conditions of the field. With so much water, slipping players, and skipping soccer balls, the wet surface would remain an important storyline as a couple unforeseen mistakes could make for a tight game once again. It was the one variable the Flyers couldn't entirely control.

Fortunately the Mason comeback never happened. The Flyers jumped all over GMU in the 2nd half, extending the lead to 5-1 on goals by Taneski and Navarro. Taneski earned the hat trick while Navarro would finish with 1 goal and 2 assists for his efforts. The Patriots got a goal back in the 63rd minute to make the score 5-2 and round out the scoring.

For the match, UD outshot GMU 26-11 including a commanding 14-4 advantage in shots on goal. Corner kicks were even at six. It was the kind of match a more talented team approached with measured poise: do what needs to be done by outworking the opponent when individual skill sets were marginalized by the weather conditions.

The victory earned the Flyers the #4 seed in the upcoming A10 Tournament hosted by UD. All 1st round A10 Tourney matches are hosted by the Top-4 seeds however so Dayton effectively clinched home field advantage throughout the postseason. Dayton will take on #5 Fordham on Saturday at Baujan Field. The Flyers and Rams did not meet in the regular season. A victory advances UD to the following weekend where all four remaining teams converge at the University of Dayton.

C. M. Rieman | Publisher | 937.361.4630 | Get the latest here:

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