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WSOC: Flyers Squash Spiders 5-1 to Keep A10 Bid Alive
WSOC: Flyers Squash Spiders 5-1 to Keep A10 Bid Alive
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Smile WSOC: Flyers Squash Spiders 5-1 to Keep A10 Bid Alive

The Dayton Flyers scored in the 3rd minute and added two more scores in the first half to nurse a 3-0 lead at intermission, eventually prevailing 5-1 over hapless Richmond on Thursday night at Baujan Field. In the last home game of the season, UD kept their A10 postseason hopes alive in a must-win game while improving to 8-8-2 (3-4-2). The Spiders fall to 2-13-1 (2-6-1).

With just two A10 matches left on the schedule and currently outside the A10 Tournament cut-line that includes the top eight teams, the Flyers hosted Richmond in a match that was all-or-nothing in terms of UD's postseason chances. Win and UD remains in contention; lose and they're essentially playing for 2018.

Nicolette Griesinger and Keagin Collie put the Flyers in a great spot to earn the victory just three minutes after kickoff. Griesinger's corner kick targeted Collie's near-post run that she put away at the same post with a nifty flick-header that left the Spider defense frozen. Up 1-0 moments in the game, UD was right where they wanted to be -- front-running against a team near the bottom of the A10 standings and with no chance of making the postseason.

Dayton continued to dominate over the next 20 minutes of play but were held back by their own sloppy passing that conceded too much possession with little or no pressure on the ball. When the Flyers weren't slowing themselves down, they did pretty much whatever they wanted; when they turned sloppy they allowed Richmond to earn possession they probably didn't deserve.

Still, UD had the better run of play and took advantage of Richmond's lack of quickness everywhere on the field. Alexis Kiehl created trouble up top by challenging loose balls and back-passes, while defender Nadia Pestell added her customary over-lapping dribble-drives down the left touch line.

Midfield play was a major struggle at times however as too many touches and too much push towards the near side of the field ignored the weak side for exploitation. Keagin Collie started to change that later in the half with more ball reversal to the weak-side Flyer defender who could then play forward up the flanks.

Alexis Kiehl made it 2-0 in the 38th minute after cleaning up a loose ball in the box after Madeleine Morrissey and Sidney Leroy did much of the initial work. Dayton added a back-breaking third goal just two minutes before halftime when Caroline Mink cut her defender inside and dribbled toward the middle of the pitch. Her shot from 23yds to the far right post beat the diving Spider GK to make it 3-0 and essentially crush UR's fleeting hopes at a possible 2nd half comeback.

First half stats favored UD in shots 10-3 while corner kicks were even at two.

The second half began much like the 1st half ended. The Flyers continued to be the quicker and more aggressive team to the ball. With more natural ability as well, the Spiders were constantly stretched thin and trying to put Band-Aids on defensive shortcomings in their own half of the field.

The Flyers fell asleep in the 57th minute however when Richmond executed a pair of textbook triangle passes from 60yds out, culminating on a cross in the box to an unmarked Spider than ran onto the ball for the easy put-away to make the score 3-1. Dayton was slow to react to the initial counter-attack, failed to cover angles, and gave GK Kaelyn Johns little help inside her goal box.

From there, the Spiders got their second wind -- at least temporarily. The next five minutes after the restart was their best stretch of the game as they dialed up the pressure and tried to make the impossible possible. Fortunately, the Flyers snuffed out those fleeting thoughts in the 66th minute when Micayla Livingston found the back of the net on a one-time flick directly in front of the goal box to make the score 4-1.

Kaitlynn Kiehl finished off the scoring in the 70th minute when the Spider goalkeeper punched a ball out rather than catch it outright. It was a bad decision because her punch never sent the ball out of danger. Quincy Kellett and Sidney Leroy collected the loose ball and dropped off a nice back-pass to a charging Kiehl who put away the open-netter.

GK Kaelyn Johns challenged from goal with 11 minutes remaining and slid low in a nasty collision that stopped the game clock and brought out the trainers. Carried off the field and later seen in a soft cast and crutches, the injury looked and sounded significant -- and eerily similar to her sliding collision against Ohio State in last year's NCAA First Round match in Columbus that caused significant facial injuries.

Sophomore GK Emily Jones came on in relief and finished out the match.

Second half stats favored UD in shots 8-4, while UR won the battle of corner kicks 3-0. Overall, UD generated 13 shots on goal and conceded just three.

Dayton was the better team top to bottom and the result was never in doubt. Most 5-1 victories suggest high-level play and total domination, but the Flyers struggled mightily with passing and communication for large stretches of the match -- especially in the midfield with unnecessary giveaways and forward distribution lacking purpose and accuracy. It was a game where Dayton battled themselves as much as the opposition and while the margin of victory was healthy, the Flyers will need to play much better on Sunday at UMass if they want to qualify for the A10 Tournament. Much is at stake -- not only for this year's team but the program as well. The Flyers have never failed to qualify for the A10 Tournament.

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

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