Feb. 5, 2008
DAYTON, Ohio - The University of Dayton women's soccer team relied on defense and talented young players to close out the 2007 season with a 13-4-4 record and a 6-2-3 finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"One of our strengths was the depth across the board," said head coach Mike Tucker. "We were able to replace injured starters with quality replacements and still compete at a very high level."
Four Flyers played in all 21 contests during the season and 16 appeared in at least 15 matches.
UD secured a fifth place finish in the league, ending the year in dramatic fashion losing to the Fordham Rams on a penalty kick shootout (4-3) in the semifinal round of the A-10 Championship.
Defense was critical throughout the season as senior Niki Reed stymied opponents with eight shutouts and limited them to an average of just 0.81 goals per game in nearly 1,800 minutes in the net. Reed and the rest of the Dayton defense held adversaries to less than 11 shots per game. Reed's outstanding effort earned her Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year recognition. She also closed out the year third on UD's all-time shutout list with 14.
Although the campaign did not end as coach Tucker and his staff had hoped for, the season was full of excitement and hope throughout. The Flyers headed west for the season opener and Reed made a statement to her teammates early on that she was going to be a solid backstop with back-to-back shutouts over Cal Poly and a double-overtime victory against Loyola Marymount.
Beginning at the Gopher Invitational, the Flyers would begin an 8-1-2 stretch, carrying into late October and positioned UD for a run in the conference tournament. Over the run, UD posted five shutouts and allowed just eight goals.
The Flyers garnered a number of honors thanks to outstanding performances during the campaign.
Sophomore Mandi Back led the team with 14 goals and was named A-10 Offensive Player of the Year. With the 30 points she collected during the season, Back steadily moves up the Flyers all-time leaderboard and is already in the top ten in career goals, career assists, and career points. Her opportunistic style of play landed her second in the conference in scoring and she enters her junior season with a chance to improve on the 14-goal season which is fifth-best all-time by a Flyer.
"Mandi Back was consistently excellent in the attack, both as a midfielder and up top," Tucker said.
Talented both on and off the field, Amanda Gallow earned Atlantic 10 Academic honors for the second straight year. Gallow carries a 3.91 GPA as a pre-physical therapy major and was also named to the 2007 CoSIDA Academic All-District Third Team in November. She posted two goals and an assist for Dayton. Recently, as the team gathered to celebrate the 2007 season, Gallow was honored as the recipient of the Stacey Martin Memorial Award.
Although, the Flyers will lose eight seniors, Tucker said consistency has been established among the team and there will not be a shortage of leadership.
"Stephanie Wurth has been a leader vocally and by example for three years. Amanda Gallow is respected for her incredible work ethic and commitment to team success. Kim Sacher missed all of last season recovering from a knee injury, and she is motivated and working hard to have a great season. All of next year's seniors have shown a desire and ability to lead in their own ways. In most years the seniors lead the way, and I believe that we have an upcoming senior class capable of taking us to great heights."
Building upon a 13-win campaign, Dayton's goals remain the same for the 2008 season.
"We want to continue to be recognized as one of the top teams in our region, win the A-10 regular season and tournament championship, and play in the NCAA tournament," said Tucker. "Anything less is a disappointment."