Men’s soccer: Dayton Flyers build momentum with top-25 win

Dayton goalkeeper Federico Barrios plays against Northern Kentucky on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at Baujan Field. Photo by Erik Schelkun

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Dayton goalkeeper Federico Barrios plays against Northern Kentucky on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, at Baujan Field. Photo by Erik Schelkun

UD starts A-10 play on Saturday at home

The Dayton Flyers volleyball and football teams took down the nation's 14th-ranked teams on the same day earlier this month. The UD men's soccer team got its chance to beat a top-25 team Saturday and took advantage, upsetting No. 20 West Virginia 2-0 in Morgantown, W.Va.

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“It’s somewhat contagious,” Dayton coach Dennis Currier said Tuesday in his office at the Cronin Center. “We felt like it was our turn.”

The Flyers also recorded the 500th win in program history. Currier didn’t know the program was so close to that milestone until he was informed about it just before the team bus departed for West Virginia.

“What a better way to do it than against a nationally-ranked team,” he said.

The Flyers improved to 3-4 by beating the Mountaineers and got back to .500 on Tuesday night with a 3-0 victory against Northern Kentucky at Baujan Field. The victory against West Virginia was Dayton’s first against a ranked team since it beat No. 19 Davidson 2-0 at home in 2014.

Currier credited Dayton’s all-around effort for 90 minutes, especially in the last five minutes as Dayton sought to preserve the shutout, for leading to the upset of West Virginia.

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Wariebi Jituboh scored off an assist by Elias Harryson and Laurel Aug in the 65th minute, beating the keeper to the left side. Toluwalase Oladeinbo scored on a header off an assist by Cole Watkins fewer than two minutes later. Jonas Fjeldberg, who leads Dayton with five goals, didn’t score in the game but started many of the attacks, Currier said.

“West Virginia is a very high-pressing team,” Currier said. “We knew we were going to have to resist some pressure, which the guys did very well. They disrupted that enough where (West Virginia) couldn’t get on goal. Then offensively we did really well on the counter in the first half. We were probably a little unlucky we didn’t get into halftime 1-0 or 2-0 up. But then we were just kind of sticking with it in the second half and not losing that hope.”

Dayton has overcome some injuries to get to 4-4. Senior Rok Taneski, the A-10 Midfielder of the Year in 2017, played in four games but underwent season-ending foot surgery to correct an issue that had been bothering him since last year. Currier said he could receive a redshirt if he returns to UD but has some interest on the pro level.

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Senior defender David Lianes, a returning starter, has been sidelined all season. The team's three Ghanaians have also been sidelined in the last month: defender Isaac Mensah; midfielder Seth Antwi; and sophomore Kingsford Adjei.

Currier is hopeful those players could return soon to help in A-10 play, which starts at 7 p.m. Saturday against Massachusetts at Baujan Field. Improved health and the recent victories have boosted Currier’s confidence.

“We want to be playing good in October,” he said. “That’s been our forte. We’ve been playing our best soccer in October. It’s another interesting year (in the A-10). Saint Louis and VCU are going to be very good. Rhode Island is another. The darkhorse this year is Duquesne. They’re unbeaten right now. For the most part, you still have the same faces. But with conference play, it can really be a team that’s not doing well and all of a sudden they start to click.”

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