Dayton men’s soccer coach Dennis Currier always relishes a shot at Ohio State, but he would have preferred going into that game last week without so many offensive players on crutches or in Ace bandages.
Freshman sensation Brian Richards broke his leg while scoring his fourth goal of the year in UD’s second game. And senior stalwarts Eddie Jones and Andres Acevedo are among about a half-dozen other players who have been sidelined for extended periods with various ailments.
But while the Buckeyes may have been out for vengeance after dropping a 3-2 decision at Baujan Field last year, the Flyers made it two in a row over the state’s premier program with a 3-1 win Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“That was our best game of the season,” Currier said. “I felt it took the first 10 minutes to get settled in. Chris Froschauer, our goal-keeper, came up with two big saves. But after that 10 minutes, I really felt we dominated the game.
“We controlled the tempo. We actually were a little unfortunate not to come out of that game winning a little bit bigger. We hit the crossbar two or three times. We put them under pressure the entire 40 minutes of the second half. It was a really good night for us.”
It’s been a really good season for the Flyers, too. Picked to finish fourth in the highly regarded Atlantic 10, they’ve soared to a 7-0 record and have jumped into the NSCAA national poll at No. 19, the first time they’ve cracked the Top 25 since early last season.
Despite all those injuries, the Flyers are sixth nationally in scoring (out of 202 Division I teams) with an average of 2.76 goals per game.
“You’re talking about almost 60 or 70 percent of your offense that’s not able to play, and that’s a big loss,” said Currier, who is in his ninth year at UD. “But having guys step up and being able to scatter the offense around has been really the key to our success. We’re getting multiple guys scoring now. We haven’t lost a whole lot of ground in the goal-scoring aspect.”
Abe Keller, a senior from Switzerland, leads the team in scoring with 13 points (four goals, five assists), but he’s getting plenty of help. The Flyers, who host Loyola Chicago at 8:30 p.m. Saturday as part of Alumni Weekend, have tallied 19 goals overall.
“Offensively, we’re clicking. We can really hurt teams in a lot of different ways,” Currier said.
Froschauer, who made the A-10 all-rookie team as a freshman last season, has been knocking away shots like King Kong swatting propeller planes. He’s allowed just four goals, and his 0.57 goals-against average is the 17th-best in the nation.
“I think defensively we’ve gotten very good over the last three games. We’ve gotten more organized. We’ve kind of got more of a complete team,” Currier said.
“As you win, you gain more confidence, and there’s a really good team spirit right now.”