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Flyer WSOC Defeats Marshall 3-0
Flyer WSOC Defeats Marshall 3-0
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile Flyer WSOC Defeats Marshall 3-0

A competitive and evenly-played match for 70 minutes suddenly turned into a UD scoring frenzy as three late goals propelled the Flyers to a 3-0 victory over Marshall University in a time-shifted home match to avoid the worst of Hurricane Harvey's remnants. The second consecutive shutout evens UD's record at 2-2-0, while the Thundering Herd fall to 0-4-0.

Harvey's rain bands covered Baujan Field all afternoon and made for difficult conditions for both sides. Originally scheduled to kickoff at 8pm -- the second game of a double-dip with the UD men's soccer team -- the match was rescheduled for 2:30pm and subsequently became the first game of the doubleheader.

The teams adjusted to the conditions in the opening minutes -- helped in part by a near-perfect playing surface that soaked up much of the precipitation. The run of play swung back and forth as neither side took command of things, each trying their best to probe for weak spots in the offensive half of the pitch. Slippery grass made for a wet ball that skipped a lot, but the Flyer and Herd back lines did well to keep the play in front of their cleats and avoid the big gaff. The teams looked evenly-matched for long stretches, but Dayton did have a couple great chances to take the lead in the first half -- including two goalkeeping challenges that almost caused a bad touch for an open-goal gimme.

On the other end, Flyer GK Kaelyn Johns wasn't overly busy thanks to a back line that tidied things up when Marshall tried pushing forward with numbers. Beth Kamphaus was solid in the middle while Nadia Pestell controlled her left touch line near the corner flag.

Perhaps most important was the physical prowess of senior MF Sidney LeRoy however. Her hard work came during long stretches of the first half when the Flyers had trouble separating themselves in overall level of play. It was LeRoy that kept a foot on the gas pedal during these lackluster moments and did just enough to frustrate Marshall near the center circle. She also shielded possession away from Herd midfielders and gave her teammates time to create an angle for a distribution pass. It wasn't boxscore-friendly soccer, but it made a big difference.

Alexis Kiehl found some good balls at her feet over the course of the first half, but struggled with the first touch and never quite broke loose like she's so accustomed. Marshall's right fullback was solid all afternoon and deserved credit for slowing down everyone in her vicinity.

By halftime, very little had been resolved. The run of play was fairly even and so were the stats. Marshall out-shot UD 6-3 while the Flyers owned a 2-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The second half continued much like the first half ended. Both sides played for possession and tried to exploit weak spots in the opposing goal areas, but credit to the defenses to standing tall and continuing to clean up all the dangerous chances near the box. As the rain continued, the match felt like a single mistake could decide the outcome. While there was more offense in the second half, the match remained scoreless.

Dayton's fortunes improved significantly in the 73rd minute when Madeleine Morrissey finished a Micayla Livingston cross in the box to put the Flyers ahead 1-0. While not out of the woods, it was a step in the right direction with a little less than 20 minutes to play.

Just 23 seconds after the restart however, Livingston called her own number and made it 2-0 after her far-post redirect finished off a Nadia Pestell cross from the left side. The low-driven ball passed through the entire box as Livingston timed her far-post run perfectly to clean it up.

In the blink of an eye, the match went from teetering either way to in complete control. Marshall's fighting spirit took a hit as well. With the writing on the wall, only a complete Flyer collapse could turn the match upside down. Dayton added a third insurance goal in the 81st minute when Sara Robertson put a header in the net on a Flyer set piece into the box.

Up 3-0 with less than 10 minutes remaining, Marshall folded their tent and Dayton cruised the rest of the way. A couple more late scoring chances could have added to the final margin.

Shots ended 9-9 in the second half while UD finished the match with a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks.

The Thundering Herd remain winless on the season and are destined to finish at or below .500 this year. There's no getting around the soft competition on Friday afternoon, but the Flyers need to build confidence and doing so in the process of earning a second consecutive clean sheet is a positive step forward. Many concerns remain including the lack of quality first touches, tunnel vision, and dynamic game-changing moments being few and far between. Winning should be a challenge all season however and now is not the time to demand style points. Plenty of teaching moments exist for the coaching staff to address and improve on -- doing so after a victory is always preferable to a loss.

Pestell was solid as a rock at left fullback once again, able to recover quickly to close down angles, turn a corner, and carry forward for overlaps and crosses in the Flyer offense. Johns was not tested much inside the box, but did have to come off her line on a couple occasions to snag loose balls or clear dangerous opportunities away with one-touch clears.

Dayton returns to action on Sunday with a road match at Purdue.

Check our Twitter and Instagram feeds @UDPride for photos from today's match.

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

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