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  #1  
Old 04-15-2021, 02:17 PM
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Exclamation A10 thread (1) STL vs (4) Dayton

At halftime. The first half was not becoming of a performance by one of the top eight teams in the conference. Shots are 8-0 in favor of the hosts. Corners are 7-0. Fouls were 5 for SLU and 3 for the Flyers.

Our NCAA hopes are not yet wrecked because the score is only 1-0. We'll see what the second half brings as the Flyers switch fields and look to adjust and create.
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:43 PM
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Dayton played a formation and game-plan in the first half, going against a fairly stiff wind, that a 0-0 draw at halftime could/would have been ADVANTAGE FLYERS heading into the second half.

But SLU was able to find the net before halftime, and Dayton had to adjust. The second half started with Dayton applying some pressure, but that quickly faded after ~5 minutes and the laws of physics and skill finally set in for the remaining 40 minutes.

SLU dominated this game and delivered their best performance against the Flyers of their 4 meetings.

Flyers need not be overly discouraged with today's result. This SLU team is probably a Sweet 16/Elite 8 team. The speed difference between SLU and Dayton is SIGNIFICANT, even to a casual fan. SLU's ability to recover on balls that appear to create some opportunity is uncanny. That comes from quality coaching/positioning and a nose for the ball. A good read on the game helps too. An athletic goalkeeper, with solid reactions and a better overall read on the game/field is sorely needed for the Flyers. And SLU's got a litany of individual "playmakers", while the Flyers have just a couple.

Unfortunately, this SLU team is going nowhere. They are LOADED with underclassmen and have more on the way. They've staked their claim to the top of the A10 mountain and appear poised to thwart any team that suggests otherwise.

Halverson appeared to be the best player on the field, with Abbie Miller trailing just behind.

I refuse to engage in the "didn't deserve it" and "didn't look like we belonged" debate. The Flyers were selected as the #4 seed and you can only play the games that are presented to you. Today, the Billikens demonstrated that they're the best team in this conference with a legit chance to challenge any and all blue blood comers in Cary, NC.

I'm a huge fan of the work Golz and staff have done in the last 3/4 years. The level of athlete and skill set has stepped up. But right now, SLU is playing chess while we're still stacking checkers. More work to do. I suspect they're working on it already on the bus ride back to Dayton.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:51 PM
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The definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing again and again, and expecting different results. Unfortunately, Dayton has once again fulfilled our reputation of being first round A10 exits as has been the case for several years running now. While lower regular season seeding definitely contributed to the vast talent disadvantage in our playoff match-ups, and we might have fared much better against the rest of the field had we qualified for a better position in the standings, these have nonetheless been games that we looked lost in.

It all comes back to inadequate preparation from the preseason. And we can see how crucial it is to be able to have Golz find ways to win meaningful games in the regular season, build us a better resume, and earn a home playoff game with one of the top four seeds.
(Legitimately Top-4, like the men's team have done, and women's team has in bygone times. Not talking about like where the next three teams ahead of us got caught up in unexpected game cancellations or else we might never would have advanced to the semifinals.)
We were told time and time again that we would be able to build on our familiarity with the Billikens to set the tone differently and create additional scoring chances.
Nuh-uh, instead it was actually SLU that used its extra scouting time last week against the Flyers, along with some old fashioned home cooking, to roll to an easy 3-0 victory.
And it was not even that close. Shots were 16-5 and corners went 7-1! I am glad I did not believe the critics, who told us things like: be bullish on this year's team and expect some kind of an upset, and Dayton has the most capable offense to go up against these juggernauts. The exact opposite happened. And we are not surprised, because SLU would surely win this match-up 95 out of 99 times, whereas the fluke goal that we were hoping for was nowhere to be found.

This was about what I did expect from a semifinal between the 8th place team in the A10 (in terms of winning percentage and quality of wins), and the 1st place undefeateds. And this game showed there was a much further gap in talent between these two squads as STL was treating today as a game of substance, rather than a mere tune-up game like last week.

In the second semifinal, [strike]the other bid stealers[/strike] Davidson were able to fare much better than our Flyers, scoring their gamewinner only 25 seconds in to the match and it stood, 1-0. UMass did get several more opportunities to control the tempo of the game and perhaps equalize, but the stalwart Davidson defense sent them on for their first A10 title appearance, and what is the program's first overall title game since they won the SoCon in 2009.

SLU has likely now punched their ticket with today's win. Would be interesting if Davidson could pull off another major upset and A10 might steal a second bid for NCAA's. Davidson are, after all, technically already considered "bid-stealers" in that they originally took VCU's earned spot in this tournament, not Dayton! (We took the wild card which was expected to go to 4-3-1 George Wash or 4-2 LaSalle, depending on which team was able to win its final games. VCU was the rightful division winner under COVID circumstances, and four seed.)

I do think that SLU is going to still be in high gear at home Saturday and should produce another shutout victory over the outmatched Wildcats. If so, the A10 will once again be a one bid conf. which is as expected in a down year. Hopefully, SLU will hopefully rep the A10 better than they did last year. To accomplish this, it would certainly be an appropriate gesture for the selection committee to award them a home game for the first round game, since they have been flawless in 2021. I am not sure though if that will be the case, because the A10 tends to get left out of these for the last almost 20 years since Dayton had been granted that privilege.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:45 PM
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When UD and SLU played at Baujan, it was a near even game for 70 of the close to 110 minutes. Very little separated the teams. Its harder to win on the road. Its also harder to win on the road vs a Top-20 team with more talent. Doesnt matter if you play them once or 100 times -- talent tends to beat less talent.

That said, the gap is definitely closing. About three years ago Dayton's most talented attacking player was an undersized left fullback. She was about the only player on the roster that could dribble and chew gum at the same time. Everyone else in the league would get beat time and again by SLU this year as well. There was a time when Dayton ran roughshod over the league too. But nothing lasts forever.

I dont think SLU is sitting on their hands. They have a very good frosh class this year which should bode well in the future. But this year's UD team would beat the UD team from 3 year ago by 2-4 goals on a consistent basis. Forget whatever record we had (around .500, soft schedule) back then. Those teams had the talent somewhere between this year's Duquesne and Bonnie team. Once Kiehl graduated, we had Nadia Pestell and then a bunch of lawn ornaments.

Not so anymore. Does that mean we'll beat Sloo next year? I dont know. But that's not my concern. I want to first prove we can beat everyone else. We never got the chance to prove that this year with the abbreviated/podded scheduling -- though I think we had the goods to. Its unrealistic to expect us to go from inept to Saint Louis in 2.5 seasons.
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:34 PM
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Thank you, Chris, you've got a unique perspective. You always know how to frame it. Perhaps I just wanted to see more improvement than this team as currently built was going to be capable of. But you're right, Saint Louis is for sure a worthy opponent, practically unbeatable at their home. They're one team that I know will ride at the top of the A10 as long as coach Katie Shields keeps bringing in great talent. The rest of the teams have up and down years but she has shown the most consistent trajectory since her arrival there. I hope most of our top contributors come back, too and utilize the extra year of eligibility to get another chance at upending the Billikens.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:25 AM
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Sloo is a full step above everyone else at the moment. My measuring stick is less about UD matching to Sloo and more about how UD continues to measure against its prior product. The last couple of seasons we've seen significant improvement in recruiting. 2/3ds of the players seeing the field wouldnt be frosh and sophs if recruiting was not making inroads. Im more focused on eyeball test and less about final scores -- though we're obviously getting better are earning results in the A10. But I see tangible soccer growth between the end lines. Our athleticism, instincts, IQ, skills are all getting better.

I want to see more out of the GK position and more speed/athleticism in the back line. We're young back there so I anticipate improvement, but Sloo scored multiple goals on us in all four games. You dont beat Top-20 teams 3-2 or 4-3. You beat them 1-0 or 2-1. So we must get better defensively and that will improve our offense because a good offense starts in the back line. Sloo's (young and talented) back line basically swept the A10 All Conference awards on the 1st team. Its also why their offense is really good -- they successfully know how to attack from the defensive third and transition quickly by getting distribution to their mids. We still struggle with the needed pace for that.

And, goalkicks are entirely unacceptable. Its costing us a half a goal a game vs a team like Sloo before the we even have a kickoff because we're forced to play it out of the back every time. Im not against playing it out of the back, but it was our only viable option and everybody knew it -- which made it easy to defend. We had a lot of mistakes back there by getting pinned deep into our own end because we couldn't get the ball to midfield. And when we did do a conventional goalkick, it was picked off time and again 35yds out with a head-ball and we were forced to retreat.

Would also like to see a physical central mid to compliment Yaiza to help win balls and shoulder-win 50/50s. Someone like a Leedom or O'Malley.

Golz is very aware of strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. In fact I cant think of a comment or question ever from myself or others that he responded to that didn't seem like "oh yeah his impression is much like mine...he's on top of it." This game is really not that complicated. The complicated part is signing those who can keep it that way. Everybody else is giving out scholarships too.
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:42 AM
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Chris, no one is suggesting that we had to beat St Louis half of the time. I'm talking about our whole body of work. Aside from the Northern Kentucky win, we have no wins against winning programs. Then in games when the season is on ther line we RRRRRRRarely have the wherewithal to show up. This schedule padding only to get to 7-9 wins has gone back more than five years!

The way I assessed the apparent progress the club made this season is that our A10 record from the 2019 year was fifth best and had seemed to be trending upward toward the end of the season. But our 2020 record this season is seventh best in the conference and three straight losses to end the season. Two of those were in must win games. Next year there won't be 4 games against STL, but there also won't be three gimmes against the Bonnies to pad the wins total. I've heard you suggest I look at only our goal differential without the Billiken results. I would similarly ask take out the 10-1 outliers against the absolute worst team in the conference, and find that our stats are actually far below middle of the pack. In fact we seem to be kind of on par with Richmond and Rhode Island, and St Joe's. That's the team that showed up yesterday, one that's outclassed and outmatched. And how did we play? We played the first half not to lose instead of taking our attack to them early.

Remember, Dayton doesn't even qualify for its first semifinal in years if VCU and La Salle both did not have COVID pauses hit them in the final weekend. Even GW having the same record in conferenrce had more quality wins (at least twice as many) than did Dayton this year!

You've been the first to criticize Golz in the past when the team has started sluggish or lacked veteran leadership. I can see giving him a pass for losing to one of the two best teams in the conference, but didn't we have that same excuse last year? And still I would have liked to have seen a progressively better showing in each game as they became more meaningful. Now 0-3 is all we got? That's a frustrating descent from the first match-up against St Louis, the narrow overtime defeat, to losing by a goal, to getting blown away. Shields had her team geared up for the A10s. We once again showed what you've been calling out for years, that we'll not be competitive in games that hold the most significance.
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by SLUFLYER View Post
This SLU team is probably a Sweet 16/Elite 8 team.
I love your optimism, SLUFLYER which is no doubt rooted in your hometown loyalty. But, so much of your prediction will depend on the selection committee's decision to do right by SLU's resume and not downgrade them like so often happens with the A10's representatives. The A10 I believe has not been given a home game since what, 2002ish? There are only 48 teams qualifying this year which means even fewer host sites than usual. I do not think SLU will earn one of the Top 12 seeds and get the bye, but they could get a home game in the play-in round. I think you will find that SLU will win that play-in as long as it is a home game or a favorable match-up for them on the road. But if they get sent to like a Missouri or Arkansas or Texas A&M either in that first or second round, expect them to lose 4-1 or so and not fulfill your "Sweet16" prediction. Having been to many ACC and SEC games, I can say that I do not think St Louis is as formidable as their 11-1 record suggests.
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:22 PM
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SLU is a solid team. They took care of Arkansas and gave Okie State a tough game. NCAA Tourney is all about matchups unless you're Florida State or UNC.

If we put the shoe on the other foot and were SLU fans, we'd be expecting -- almost demanding -- that our Top-20 team handily beat a team like Dayton or anyone else in the A10 for that matter. And if they didnt we'd wonder what went wrong. We almost got beat at Dayton and gave up three goals alone to one attacking player. For a team a full step above, why didn't we post 3-4 shutouts? Are we Top-20 or aren't we? Why didn't we dominate on the scoreboard and have to win twice by a single goal?

The sunlight and dark clouds change depending on which side of the fence you look at the fenceposts. If SLU is indeed Top-20 -- and Ive seen nothing that indicates they are not thus far -- then the results were precisely what they should have been. A significant talent advantage should repeatedly win.

Doesn't mean I dont think the gap isn't closing however. This year's SLU team would have beaten the recent UD teams of the past by about a 5-0 score each game. And that team probably wouldnt have sniffed the back of the net a single time. There was zero offense other than Nadia dribble-driving up the left flank from her own 18yd box. At least now we have some skill position players that have a fighting chance to make a soccer play.

Still work to be done, but UD was solidly represented on the All A10/Rookie teams despite being a #4 seed (or #5 seed if we were gifted a #4). That tells me its not just me seeing what I want to see, but actual improvement is self-aware to the rest of the A10 coaches too. We had a couple teams with no All A10 players and/or zero All Rookies -- program firsts. We've effectively eliminated that for the foreseeable future. That's not just a small step forward. From where we were talent-wise, we had almost nowhere to go but up and a lot of ground to cover. We're still covering it, but MAN OH MAN I wouldnt want to start from the beginning again.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:32 AM
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7 seed. Not if. The fact of the matter is VCU, La Salle and GW all finished ahead of us this year. The league clearly made a judgment call based on the travel convenience to send our 4-3 team up over VCU and GW, all having 13 points. But we would have been the 7 seed otherwise. And if the tournament were in Richmond instead of STL, that "coin" would have landed on the other side. I know how these decisions get made.
We were surely gifted a berth we didn't deserve.
Losing by three or five makes no difference when you get dominated like 16-5 on shots. And this beating one winning side per season is not satisfying enough for me either.

We are grossly unprepared for these moments as shown by the third consecutive shutout result in the A10 playoffs. It's a bad trend.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by soccerflyer View Post
I love your optimism, SLUFLYER which is no doubt rooted in your hometown loyalty. But, so much of your prediction will depend on the selection committee's decision to do right by SLU's resume and not downgrade them like so often happens with the A10's representatives. The A10 I believe has not been given a home game since what, 2002ish? There are only 48 teams qualifying this year which means even fewer host sites than usual. I do not think SLU will earn one of the Top 12 seeds and get the bye, but they could get a home game in the play-in round. I think you will find that SLU will win that play-in as long as it is a home game or a favorable match-up for them on the road. But if they get sent to like a Missouri or Arkansas or Texas A&M either in that first or second round, expect them to lose 4-1 or so and not fulfill your "Sweet16" prediction. Having been to many ACC and SEC games, I can say that I do not think St Louis is as formidable as their 11-1 record suggests.
I'd say it's fair blend of optimism and broad perspective of A LOT of teams I've seen play this year, both in person and at the benefit of ESPN+. Those games/teams include SEC and ACC as well.

I know A LOT of these kids on the SLU team, many since they were 9 or 10 years old. So yeah, I've got some loyalty and bias. But my eyes are not getting deceived by my heart.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, ALL games will be played in Cary, NC. So there won't be any home games for the NCAA to award anybody. I think SLU has an outside shot at a Top 12 bye if they were to post another dominating performance in today's A10 final. It's unlikely, but who knows. Their #8 RPI is really strong and might just be enough to get them in that consideration.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by soccerflyer View Post
7 seed. Not if. The fact of the matter is VCU, La Salle and GW all finished ahead of us this year. The league clearly made a judgment call based on the travel convenience to send our 4-3 team up over VCU and GW, all having 13 points. But we would have been the 7 seed otherwise. And if the tournament were in Richmond instead of STL, that "coin" would have landed on the other side. I know how these decisions get made.
We were surely gifted a berth we didn't deserve.
Losing by three or five makes no difference when you get dominated like 16-5 on shots. And this beating one winning side per season is not satisfying enough for me either.

We are grossly unprepared for these moments as shown by the third consecutive shutout result in the A10 playoffs. It's a bad trend.
You appear rather knowledgeable and informed. But reading your posts in this thread, they appear to be somewhat misguided by an obvious agenda and vendetta - mired in negativity towards this Flyers team/staff and a desire to prove a point surrounding the A10 tournament berth and some suggested "conspiracy theories" surrounding such.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:40 PM
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Congratulations to the saint louis Billikens for a great 2-1 final win! Hopefully they get a favorable draw and don't have to play Arkansas or something. Having the tourney in the single site allows flexibility for non geographic rivalries to occur and so maybe the committee will give them an appealing first round matchup.
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:34 PM
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If UD was really a #7 seed, then UD's performance vs Top-20 SLU is even more concerning for SLU. No legitimate Top-20 team should ever give up three goals in four games to the same player on the 7th best team in the A10 - nevermind a freshman.

SLU dominated as expected today. Just couldnt put it in the net. Davidson had one shot on goal in the entire match -- a long strike from distance that found its way in. Other than that SLU dominated in shots on goal and CKs. Had a goal called back. Pretty much tells me what I already knew: SLU was far and away the best squad in the league and other teams were not going to perform any better than Dayton did. SLU would have beaten Davidson all four times too. Davidson certainly did not look like they were a step above UD in terms of talent and playmaking. Which is bad news for Davidson since UD is only the 7th best team in this league.
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Old 04-18-2021, 10:40 AM
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Sorry, I was remiss. We actually finished in 8th place in the table. Everybody always forgets fricken Fordham! It's not a conspiracy, but it is only sheer luck that the teams ahead of us in the wins and losses didn't qualify. For one reason or another
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Old 04-19-2021, 02:17 PM
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https://www.ncaa.com/brackets/soccer-women/d1/2021

Well, I'd say the knowledgeable soccer folks have granted SLU all the respect they deserve, with a #15 seed and a bye in the NCAA Tournament.

With a win in their first game, they would earn a date with Perennial powerhouse UNC in the Sweet 16, and we'll get to see how they stack up against the nation's best.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:45 PM
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This must be the first time ever that the A10's regular season winner has been seeded better than the Big 10's regular season winner (PSU). Chalk it up to COVID scheduling. The Big 10 is evidently being taken to task for not scheduling anybody out of conference.
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