Women’s soccer: Freshmen contributing early for Dayton Flyers

Coach Eric Golz’s team off to 1-1 start in his third season

The Dayton Flyers women’s soccer team kicked off the fall sports season for the whole university in style last Thursday, beating the Miami RedHawks 5-1 at Baujan Field.

Coach Eric Golz’s team was the first from Dayton play in the 2019-20 academic year. The match came just two weeks after the players arrived on campus.

“It was a great way to start,” Golz said Wednesday. “We were the first regular-season game on campus in the first week of classes. I think there were 1,300 people out there. The Red Scare was there and loud. They brought all kinds of instruments and drums and screaming and yelling. It was awesome.”

Dayton finished 8-9-2 last season. Golz was 17-18-4 in his first two seasons. His third team was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll. The Flyers return three of their top four scorers, including senior Micayla Livingston, who led the team with 12 goals last season.

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The first two games showed Dayton can expect production from newcomers as well. Freshman Alexis Goins scored two goals in the season opener. Freshman Laney Huber scored in the team’s second game, a 3-2 loss Sunday at Illinois.

“We had high expectations for a lot of the freshmen coming in,” Golz said. “Laney has been a bit of a pleasant surprise. She has special pace and is a constant threat to get behind teams and helps to stretch teams out. Her finishing has been really good in training and in games.”

Dayton was shut out nine times last season and scored 18 goals in 19 games. Golz expects the offensive attack to be much improved and saw that on the opening weekend.

“We scored seven goals in two games, which is a good sign, but there are certainly some things we need to shore up defensively to not concede as many goals,” Golz said. “We have a lot of young exciting players who come in and, to their credit, made an impact, and returning players who with a couple years growth under their belt have been good leaders and good role models and helped solidify some of the inexperience we have.”

Two of those leaders are seniors Jordan Pauley, who scored in each of the first two games, and Caroline Mink, who scored the second goal against Miami.

Of Pauley, who started 19 games last season, Golz said she’s a “central midfielder who could potentially play in the back as well. She’s has been a steadying force so far in some of her experience and decision making and is blooming and blossoming into a better vocal leader as well.”

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Mink started seven games last season. She has battled injuries on and off the last couple of seasons.

“This year, she’s healthy and in a much better place in terms of her fitness and form,” Golz said. “She has looked really sharp.”

Pauley, junior Emma Thomas and sophomores Tiana Bucknor and Izzy Greene form the team’s leadership group. Golz depends on them to show the rest of the players how the coaches want things done on and off the field.

Greene was the breakout star of the 2018 freshman class. She tied for second on the team with six goals and was named to the A-10 All-Rookie team.

“She’s someone who has continued to grow,” Golz said. “She’s an absolute workhorse on both sides of the ball. She works her butt off and has done a lot to create chances for us to score and help make our job defensively easier. She broke her finger in an exhibition game and is playing with a cast but has shown no ill effects.”

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