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WSOC: Buckeyes Roll Past Flyers 4-0
WSOC: Buckeyes Roll Past Flyers 4-0
Christopher Rieman
Published by Chris R
Exclamation WSOC: Buckeyes Roll Past Flyers 4-0

The UD Women's Soccer team clashed in a back-yard brawl with Ohio State on Thursday evening at Baujan Field, but were decisively outclassed in a 4-0 loss that surrendered a pair of goals in each half. The first defeat of the season drops the Flyers to 3-1-1 while the Buckeyes improve to 3-1-0.

Dayton took the pitch for the second consecutive match without midfielder Diana Benigno in the starting lineup as she nurses some bugaboos, once again forcing Head Coach Eric Golz to shuffle the lineup a bit. In the first 10 minutes however, UD played the Buckeyes tit for tat and developed some nice possession moving forward as they countered on OSU giveaways in the defensive half. It was ultimately UD's strongest soccer of the match however as things slowly deteriorated. The Bucks also took early advantage of UD mistakes as the back lines struggled with hospital balls that led to a handful of scary half-chances.

Marlee Taylor got loose behind the last Buckeye defender on UD's best scoring chance of the first half, but her one-time shot from 20 yards went wide of the far post. Dayton conceded territory up to midfield when defending Ohio State, perhaps a planned response to try to keep as many defenders behind the ball at all times. For long stretches however, it made it far too easy for OSU to initiate their offense with just half the field left to negotiate.

The Bucks found the net in the 20th minute when Natalie Hegg got beat 1v1 down the left side of the Flyer goal box as Emma Sears dribbled to within spitting distance of the goal line and slotted the ball between Batoul Reda and the near post. Perhaps Reda should have shut the door at the near post, but the defending in the field of play needed to be much better.

Down 1-0, the coaching staff swapped out Hegg for Ella Raimondi in an attempt to shore up the defensive left side of the field -- a fair-minded coaching change that ultimately didn't make much of a difference. UD surrendered a questionable free kick just outside the goal box just moments later when laces got tangled up, but Reda snuffed out the free kick to prevent the Buckeyes from extending the lead.

The Flyers began to fade as the last 20 minutes of the half played out. Loss of possession from poor touches kept UD from pushing forward and connecting multiple passes together for extended periods. Dayton's best opportunities came on long-ball counterattacks to the wings making runs down the left and right flank. By and large however, the Buckeyes were just less prone to giveaways and played a quicker brand of soccer when they gathered possession and organized themselves moving forward.

OSU extended the lead to 2-0 with that accelerated play in the 32nd minute. A long ball down the right side resulted in a quality feed into the box as an unmarked Buckeye collected and went far post to beat Reda and put UD on the ropes. UD's frustration clearly showed as the remainder of the half wrapped up; too many poor passes and lack of movement off the ball limited UD to attacking the field 1v1 rather than in dangerous combinations. Benigno finally made an appearance late in the first half to try to re-establish some Flyer presence in the midfield. With the Flyers already down 2-0 however, things weren't looking good.

Ohio State dominated first half stats with a 9-1 advantage in shots and 7-0 whitewash in shots on goal. Corner kicks were 2-2.

The Bucks didn't waste any time putting the game completely out of reach as the 2nd half got underway. A couple bad touches in the defensive third allowed OSU to create a 1- and 2-touch combo play to free up Peyton McNamara ready to pull the trigger from 25yds. Her terrific strike in the 52nd minute beat Reda to the far post to give OSU the commanding 3-0 lead and make the last 35 minutes of the match largely ornamental.

Sears joined McNamara with the brace in the 66th minute after blowing past the Flyer back line and slotting a ball to the weak post for the 4-0 Buckeye lead. UD's defending was never up to the challenge all evening as the mids and backs were beaten 1v1 on repeated occasions -- usually with speedy bull rushes that overwhelmed.

Dayton's best and only legitimately hand-crafted scoring chances were from the left-side dribble-drives of Jess Sheldon. She was the lone Flyer with the speed to compete and succeed in the match and did well to beat defenders down the flank and knock balls into the box. Beyond these moments however, the Flyer offense was largely non-existent.

Match stats were dominated by the Buckeyes 13-8 in shots and 9-1 in shots on goal. The Flyers did win the battle of corner kicks 5-3.

Dayton could not manufacture any significant pace of play over the last 80 minutes of the match and were far too deliberate in their buildup on those few occasions when they did have possession and opportunities to move forward. Poor passing snuffed out many of these chances as well -- balls were consistently even or behind teammates instead of out in front where they could run into the service and move forward into space. Without any pace of play or clean touches, the Buckeyes had an easy time playing keep-away and knocking the ball around for extended periods. Only the rare giveaway forced OSU to defend against UD's offensive attack but in those cases superior Big10 size and strength were the overriding factors in cleaning up their own mistakes.

Dayton was not in Ohio State's class and would take a loss to the Buckeyes in 9 of 10 matches. The good news is UD can't hold their heads down for getting beaten by an inferior opponent. On the other hand, the Flyer program should be at a performance level where they have an honest chance to win these kinds of matches on their home turf; it depends how deep into the mirror you want to look to either find comfort of frustration.

Dayton travels to Louisville, KY, to face Bellarmine on Sunday afternoon for a 1pm tilt with Knights.

Hot shooting hides a multitude of sins.
Make everyone else's "one day" your "day one".
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