Women’s soccer falls to Flyers

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Women’s soccer falls to Flyers

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SLU women’s soccer suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Atlantic 10 conference quarterfinals to the tournament winners, the Dayton Flyers. SLU came in as a number two seed, but were upset 3-0 by a tough number seven seeded Dayton Flyers team.

SLU outshot Dayton 16 shots to 12, and had five corner kicks to Dayton’s one, but Dayton’s superior finishing was too much for the Billikens to handle. SLU let in one goal in the first half. Then, the floodgates opened a little wider in the second half, as SLU surrendered two in the second half.

Junior goalkeeper Mary Niehaus made four saves in the match, despite letting in three goals. Niehaus, senior defender Kacey Bright, and senior midfielder Tori Marshall played all 90 minutes. The goals for the Flyers came from midfielder Libby Leedom, forward Alexis Kiehl, and midfielder Beth Kamphaus. The Dayton goalkeeper, Kaelyn Johns, made four saves to deny the Billikens any goals in the match.

The Flyers went on to defeat George Washington in a comprehensive 2-0 victory in the Atlantic 10 semifinals. Then, in an astonishing display of offensive firepower, the Flyers throttled number one seed Saint Joseph’s by a score of 7-0. The blowout victory came as a surprise to many. Saint Joseph’s had lost only one match all year, and entered the postseason tournament as favorites to win the tournament. However, Leedom had a hat trick that contributed heavily to the dismantling of the Hawks.

The Flyers, with their conference tournament victory, have won the A-10’s automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA tournament. Saint Joseph’s will be waiting anxiously for the decision of the NCAA Selection Committee, who will decide whether the Hawks’ performances this season have merited inclusion in the national tournament.

Despite the disappointing loss for Saint Louis, the women’s soccer team will be buoyed by their outstanding 2016 season. The team was expected to finish tenth in the conference in the regular season, and instead exceeded all reasonable expectations by finishing in second place. The team will lose some excellent seniors for the 2017 season, but many of SLU’s contributors this season will be returning, as well. The Billikens will hope to learn from their disappointing defeat and build on their results this season.

The seniors from the team that are graduating include Bright, midfielder Shaney Sakamoto, Marshall, forward Danielle Tolmais, forward Cristina Rodriguez, and forward Kirsten Clemens. The graduating seniors all had important roles to play on the 2016 team, and will be fondly remembered in the still-developing history of SLU women’s soccer.