THE TURNING POINT: The game's lone goal came in the 64th minute on a long shot by Saginaw Valley State's Oluwatobi Oyeleye.
STAT OF THE DAY: With nine freshmen again in the starting lineup, the Eagles went from losing 6-0 at SVSU on Sept. 18 to losing 1-0 to the Cardinals at home.
Seeing tangible proof of improvement from a college sports team is a fun thing.
Such is the case with the Ashland University men's soccer team. Four weeks after losing to Saginaw Valley State 6-0 on the road, the Eagles faced the Cardinals at Ferguson Field on Sunday (Oct. 16), losing a 1-0 decision.
"We had the chances, right," Ashland head coach Oliver Slawson said. "We hit a crossbar, keeper save off the line, another save off the line…it's nothing but positives. We're not happy to lose. They give it to us 6-nil (on the road). So to come around and have a much closer game…shows this process is in the right direction."
Ashland is 4-9-1 overall and 2-9-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while SVSU - a program with recent GLIAC titles and a national championship game appearance to its credit - is 11-3, 9-3.
Employing nine freshmen in the starting lineup and once again missing strikers Chijioke Mbaike (junior), Tomas Cordeiro (sophomore) and Andrew Pearson (freshman) due to injury, the Eagles played the Cardinals to a scoreless draw until the 64th minute.
That was when senior midfielder Oluwatobi Oyeleye scored on a feed from sophomore defender Brian Sockow.
"We've come a long way in the last month," Slawson said. "We've still got to figure out how to get that last missing piece, getting the ball over the line.
SVSU had a 10-7 shot advantage, and a 5-3 lead in corner kicks. Ashland senior goalkeeper Nick Ciraldo made four saves.
"Credit to Saginaw for getting the win," Slawson said. "We're going to keep working hard and pushing."
UP NEXT: Sunday (Oct. 23) at 1 p.m. at Ohio Dominican (5-9, 5-7).