Nov. 13, 2008
PITTSBURGH - Three different players scored for third-seeded Dayton in its 3-2 win against sixth-seeded Rhode Island in the first round of the 2008 Men's Atlantic 10 Championship at Rooney Field on the campus of Duquesne University. Seniors Isaac Kissi and Florian DeCamps and junior Jeff Popella each notched goals for the Flyers who move on to play second-seeded Temple Friday, Nov. 13 at 8:30 p.m. at Rooney Field. DeCamps scored the game winner in the 57th minute.
"This was an emotional win tonight because of last year's loss on penalty kicks," said UD head coach Dennis Currier. "Our goal was to advance to A-10 tournament. Now we have to beat Temple to play in the A-10 final on Sunday."
Freshman Tyler Picard had five saves in goal, including three crucial saves in the waning minutes of the match.
The first 15 minutes of the second stanza was a flurry of scoring. Freshman Erkko Puranen scored his second goal of the match and ninth of the season to bring the score to 2-2 in the 56th minute.
"We had good balance. Our defense was great," said Currier. "We just had two mental mistakes and it is rare that we allow a team to score two or more goals."
Just 31 seconds later senior Florian DeCamps scored to regain the lead for the Flyers (13-4-2). DeCamps, a First Team A-10 selection, scored his seventh goal of the season and his fifth game-winner this season, tying him for fifth all-time at UD.
In a closely contested first half the Flyers captured a 2-1 lead. Dayton and Rhode Island (8-8-3) matched up evenly with the Rams holding a slight edge in shots, 8-7. UD, however, had five shots on frame compared to Rhode Island's two shots on goal. The fouls were even close with the Rams called for nine to Dayton's six. Puranen scored the first goal of the A-10 Championship to give the Rams a 1-0 lead in the 9th minute of the match.
"Them scoring early woke us up," said Currier. "We felt the momentum change with the penalty kick."
Senior Isaac Kissi finally scored the equalizer for the Flyers in the 31st minute. Fellow senior Simeon Zapryanov served a ball into the box on a free kick. Kissi was in perfect position to knock one to the back of the net, his fifth of the season. Junior Jeff Popella put the Flyers on top just nine minutes later. Senior Florian DeCamps was going strong towards the goal on a breakaway and got taken down by the goalkeeper. Dayton was awarded a penalty kick and Popella converted with a low driving shot to the right side.
"I was nervous to take the kicks but someone on the team needed to step up and take the lead so I did," said Popella. "I was happy to do it and it feels good to win an A-10 tournament game."
Junior Alex Torda had two shots on goal for the Flyers in the first 45 minutes, and also had a header go just wide left of the post.
Notes: The Flyers are 20-0-1 when scoring three goals or more during Currier's four seasons at Dayton...UD is 9-7-0 all-time against Rhode Island.