Men’s soccer: Dayton Flyers seek first A-10 title since 2015

Team opens season Friday against Illinois-Chicago in Columbus

The Dayton Flyers last won the Atlantic 10 men’s soccer tournament championship and played in the NCAA tournament in 2015 when the team’s current seniors were seniors in high school.

There are eight seniors plus a graduate student on the 2019 roster, and coach Dennis Currier, now in his 15th season, has challenged them and the rest of the team to win a championship this fall.

“We’ve been knocking on the door each year and have just fallen short,” Currier said Wednesday, two days before the season opener against Illinois-Chicago at Ohio State. “That’s the ultimate goal. It’s hard to do. They’ve gained that experience, that leadership. They’ve gone through all the trials and tribulations in their four-year cycle. That’s our next hump, getting past that semifinal and into the finals.”

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Dayton finished 9-6-4 last season and 4-3-1 in the A-10. Injuries slowed the team early, but it got healthy and showed improvement in the final weeks, winning its last four regular-season games and then upsetting No. 2 seed Davidson 2-1 in double overtime on the road in the first round of the conference tournament. The Flyers then lost 1-0 in double overtime to No. 3 seed George Mason in the semifinals.

The Flyers were picked to finish fourth in the A-10 preseason poll. They return 10 starters, including most of their top offensive players. Juniors Jonas Fjeldberg (four goals, two assists) and Laurel Aug (two goals, three assists) and senior Rok Taneski (two goals, three assists) led the attack last season. Dayton ranked 11th in the 13-team A-10 with 1.16 goals per game.

Newcomers will play an important role as well. Currier mentioned freshman midfielder Seth Antwi and sophomore midfielder/forward Kingsford Adjei. Both players came to Dayton from the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana and attended prep school in England.

“They’re young,” Currier said, “but also very exciting players. In the two preseason games, everyone was like, ‘Who are those guys?’”

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Another exciting newcomer is freshman defender Xavier Zengue, from Mounds View, Minn. Currier expects him to start.

Then there’s 6-foot-2 freshman forward Toluwalase Oladeinbo, of Nigeria.

“He’s one of the pieces we lacked last year,” Currier said, “just that big target forward Dayton is known for. He gives us a presence up top. He’ll be able to stretch play for us.”

Of the returners, Currier sees sophomore midfielder Jake Feiner as one of the most improved. He came on strong at the end of last season.

The Flyer most likely to earn A-10 accolades this season is senior goalkeeper Federico Barrios, who was named to the all-conference preseason team.

“He’s grown tremendously from not playing at all to now being a pro prospect,” Currier said.

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