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UDWSOC: GW Tops UD 1-0 in Critical A10 Match
UDWSOC: GW Tops UD 1-0 in Critical A10 Match
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Exclamation UDWSOC: GW Tops UD 1-0 in Critical A10 Match

The Dayton Flyers out-shot -- and in several respects -- outplayed the George Washington Colonels. But it didn't matter because GW connected on a rocketed blast midway through the 2nd half to produce the only score of the game and win 1-0 on a chilly and blustery Sunday evening at Baujan Field. UD falls to 7-8-2 (2-4-2) while GW improves to 10-4-2 (5-2-1). With just two conference matches left, UD must win out and get some help to punch their ticket to the postseason A10 Tournament -- a tourney UD has never failed to qualify for.

GW took the wind to start the 1st half and used it to their advantage in the opening minutes. Able to play long balls out of the back line and deep into the attacking half of the field, the Colonels were able to push players forward and stretch the Flyers as they tracked back to cover.

Dayton produced some offense despite the wind in their face however, chipping balls into to the GW goal box -- some half-chances and some incredibly good looks that only needed a timely redirect to put the Flyers in the lead. Those necessary critical touches inside the goal box were not there however, something UD struggled with over the entire match.

Alexis Kiehl used a few dribble-drives to create space for a couple wind-ups, but they were either blocked by the GW defense or sailed just wide of the goal.

Back and forth the run-of-play went over the remaining 30 minutes of the 1st half. Neither side dominated, but neither side looked overwhelmed either. Overcoming the elements seemed just as difficult as finding room to maneuver against a pair of stingy defenses that kept their shape and turned scoring chances away.

The Flyers did especially well in their defensive third to limit GW's opportunities. GK Kaelyn Johns was not tested much -- the Colonels couldn't put anything on frame to keep her busy. Beth Kamphaus and Nicolette Griesinger took credit for much of that.

Dayton had trouble putting shots on frame too, something that would ultimately cost them the match when it was all said and done. Still, Dayton did just enough in the 1st half to look like the odds-on favorite after intermission. After all, they were playing at home and celebrating Senior Day for their graduating class.

First half stats ended with UD leading in shots 7-4 and corner kicks 3-2. Johns did not register a 1st half save.

The 2nd half was UD's chance to get a goal, protect a lead, and win a critical conference match that could help seal their postseason fate in the upcoming A10 Tournament. With the wind behind them, they had Mother Nature in their favor too.

The first 15 minutes after the restart were evenly played. Once again, neither team could generate shots on goal, though each side had opportunities in the offensive third to finish crosses in the box or pull the trigger from beyond the 18yd line. As the match continued, it also felt like one goal might win the match -- the first team to score would probably end up the winner. Either team needed just one sequence executed to perfection to put themselves in the driver's seat and GW did just that in the 65th minute on a upper-90 far-post strike from long distance that Kaelyn Johns had no opportunity to save. The fatal mistake came moments prior when the Flyers relaxed and conceded space on the field after losing pressure on the ball.

Still, UD had a half hour to grab an equalizer, let alone win the match in regulation. The same season-long hurdles that have plagued the Flyers once again put a stop to things however. Purpose and passing precision inside the offensive third bogged down and too many balls ended up resulting in unforced errant passes that with no particular Flyer target in mind. GW picked off most of these balls and defended the ones they didn't. Dayton never got completely open looks at the net -- even inside the goal box. But they did generate enough good scoring chances to toe-poke or bull-rush a ball into the back of the net.

It never happened. Despite a couple late set pieces in the offensive half and a flick that dribbled just wide of the right goal post, GW successfully defended their goal and earned the 1-0 shutout victory.

Match stats ended with UD dominating in shots 15-8 and corner kicks 8-3. The Colonels only generated two shots on goal over 90 minutes but found the back of the net on one of them. The Flyers only placed 5 of 15 shots on frame however and that's what ultimately cost UD a result.

Nadia Pestell once again provided a solid effort out of the back line and continues to UD's most dangerous attacking player other than Alexis Kiehl. Pestell's work rate and determination is a team high water mark, but the dropoff beyond her tool set is pronounced almost every game the Flyers take the field. The delta shouldn't be so pronounced.

At 2-4-2 in the A10 with just two conference matches remaining, UD has no choice but to win out and also hope for some help by the other members in the league. The Flyers do not have favorable tie-breakers against league opponents so their fate might also depend on how other A10 results play out over the last 10 days of conference play.

That said, the Flyers' record -- both inside and outside the league -- is a fair representation of the level of play over the course of the season thus far. Of UD's two league wins, they were outplayed in one of them (George Mason) and earned a pair of ties against two other opponents that had the stronger run of play (VCU, Saint Louis). Every match has been a monumental struggle and nothing has come easy.

The Flyers finish the home portion of the schedule on Thursday when Richmond visits Baujan Field for a 7pm kickoff.

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

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