Seven Ashland University sports programs are in action in the first full week of October – which also happens to be 2016 Homecoming week.
Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings are taking shape in various sports, and even though the regular season began just a month ago, the first 2016 GLIAC championships are in sight.
FOOTBALL – Ashland (4-1 overall, 3-1 GLIAC), ranked No. 5 in last week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll and the leader of the GLIAC South Division, returns to Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field to play the annual Homecoming game on Saturday (Oct. 8) at 1 p.m. against Northwood (1-4, 1-4). This will be the 93rd Ashland Homecoming contest (62-25-5).
ONE TO WATCH: In the last three games, senior inside linebacker Brandon Gency has racked up 33 total tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception.
WOMEN'S SOCCER – The Eagles (5-1-3, 2-1-1) will be back in action with a split road-home conference weekend. Ashland will play at Findlay (3-6-1, 1-2-1) on Friday (Oct. 7) at 1 p.m., then come back to Ferguson Field on Sunday (Oct. 9) at 1 p.m. to face Ohio Dominican (3-3-4, 2-0-2).
ONE TO WATCH: Junior goalkeeper Courtney Barker is 5-1-3 with a 0.70 goals-against average and three shutouts this season.
VOLLEYBALL – Ashland (10-6, 4-3) continues its extended road streak with two more weekend GLIAC matches away from Kates Gymnasium. The Eagles will play on Friday at 5 p.m. at Ferris State (11-5, 5-1) and on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Grand Valley State (8-6, 3-3).
ONE TO WATCH: Freshman outside hitter Shelby Woycik is growing into a bigger role, having collected 45 kills, a .294 hitting percentage and nine block assists in the last four matches.
MEN'S SOCCER – The Eagles (4-6, 2-6) will stay on the road for another GLIAC contest on Friday at 3 p.m. at Northern Michigan (3-6, 3-5). Ashland begins the second round of conference play, and this is the rematch of the Sept. 9 home game that AU prevailed in, 2-0.
ONE TO WATCH: Sophomore forward Tomas Cordeiro leads the Eagles in both goals (three) and points (six) through the first 10 games of the season.
CROSS COUNTRY – Ashland's men and women will take part in their final pre-GLIAC Championships race on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Lake Erie Storm Invitational. The women's 6K race will be first, followed by the men's 8K race at Painesville Country Club.
ONE TO WATCH: Senior Nick Hall placed third in the NCAA Division II/NAIA division at the All-Ohio Championships, crossing the 8K finish line in 25:21.5.
WOMEN'S GOLF – The Eagle women are back on the course for two events in an eight-day period. Ashland will play on Monday (Oct. 3) and Tuesday (Oct. 4) in the Northwood Invitational at Midland (Mich.) Country Club, then begin play in Findlay's Beall Fall Classic on Sunday at Findlay Country Club.
ONE TO WATCH: Senior Kaitlin Neumann has an average round of 77 so far in 2016-17, with all four of her rounds being a total of 79 or less.
WOMEN'S TENNIS – Ashland (0-6, 0-6) will return to the road for two GLIAC matches. The first will be on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Saginaw Valley State (3-3, 3-3), and the second on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Northwood (6-0, 6-0).
ONE TO WATCH: Junior Elizabeth Kidd won both a singles match and doubles match at home against Findlay on Saturday (Oct. 1).