#34 Dayton Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Dayton Flyers

Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #1 Atlantic 10
Dayton Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Dayton Team Page


The Flyers of the University of Dayton had big goals last season, and they accomplished almost all of them. In an interview posted on the team’s website this past February, head coach Mike Tucker recalled setting forth goals to make it to the NCAA tournament and win both the Atlantic 10 regular season and championship titles: his team managed the first and third of those three. Looking forward to 2012, Dayton should again play with these objectives in mind, and perhaps look to move beyond the first round of NCAA tournament play. Eighteen members of last year’s team will return to the field, and six talented recruits will join them.

2011 Record: 19-4-0, 7-2-0
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Tucker

The strength of the 2012 Dayton women’s soccer team will undoubtedly be its offense. The three top players in the categories of goals, assists, and game-winning goals will all return this year. The offense is led by senior forward Colleen Williams. Williams was named a second-team all-American for the second time in 2011, the most outstanding player of the Atlantic 10 conference championship, and received national attention after being invited to the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team camp in May of this year. Returning along with Williams are sophomore standout Kelsey Smigel, who notched 13 goals and 31 points in her freshmen campaign, and junior midfielder Juliana Libertin, who also chipped in with 10 goals and 30 points on the season.

In net, Coach Tucker has two excellent options in goalkeepers Katherine Boone (senior) and Jordin Melchert (junior). The two women split the starting role during the 2011 season, with Melchert closing out the year with the final nine starts. Boone led the team in saves (40) last season, and Melchert earned the most wins (9) and the most shutouts (4) for the Flyers.
The lone, glaring weakness for this year’s team will be their back line: they lost three of the four starting defensive backs, Emily Kenyon, Kathleen Beljan, and Kelsey Miller. Senior defender Alysha Mallon, the sole remaining starter for the defense, will have to step up and lead the group of fresh faces this season. It’s possible that returning players will fill these roles. Over the spring 2012 season, the back line consisted of Mallon, Allison Klinefelter (sophomore, D), Sarah Senoyuit (junior, M), and Meghan Scharer (junior, D). But based on Tucker’s recruiting strategy, it’s also possible that an incoming freshman may see substantial playing time on the defensive line. Among the six new recruits, five are either defenders or midfielders with defensive potential.

Final Projection:
Led by its offensive talent, the Dayton Flyers should compete to win the Atlantic 10 conference championship and secure an NCAA tournament berth. In the same post-season interview mentioned above, Coach Tucker pointed out that with the kind of offensive presence this team has (Dayton was the only team in the country to have three players score 10 or more goals each in 2011), “it makes it awful hard [for other teams] to defend, and it makes a lot of teams less likely to get numbers forward. So that makes defending a little bit easier.” With that in mind, the impact of a defensive rebuild doesn’t seem nearly as trying as it would be for other teams.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Colleen Williams, Senior, F, 16
Assists: Colleen Williams, Senior, F, 15
Shots: Colleen Williams, Senior, F, 101
Saves: Katherine Boone, Senior, GK, 40