Sophomore Thomas Ardron scored two goals, including an overtime game-winner to beat Davenport on Sunday (Oct. 8) afternoon in GLIAC action at Ferguson Field.
With the game tied at 2-2 in the 95th minute, Ardron stood over a free kick from 20 yards out and hit a left-footed shot over the Panthers' wall, tucking inside the near post to send the Eagles to their second overtime win in as many games.
"I've hit a few of them this season that haven't been great, so I guess that was my moment," Ardron said.
The Eagles (6-6, 2-6 GLIAC) exacted a measure of revenge against the Panthers (7-4-1, 4-3-1 GLIAC), who won the previous meeting between the teams, 5-0, in Grand Rapids, Mich. in mid-September. Davenport was picked to win the GLIAC in the preseason and played in the NAIA semifinals last year.
The game was scoreless at halftime, but it was Ashland that struck first after the intermission as Ardron collected a deflected ball just inside the corner of the 18-yard box, spun and chipped a ball over the Davenport keeper inside the far post. Ardron now has four goals on the season.
The Eagles looked well on their way in the 66th minute when sophomore Andrew Pearson freed freshman Yusuke Yasumasu with a through-ball and the rookie beat Davenport's keeper one-on-one for his second goal of the weekend.
Davenport cut the Eagles' lead in half quickly with a goal just three minutes later and had the equalizer in the 79th minute. Both goals were scored by Brayden Texer.
The Eagles regrouped after regulation and settled the pace in the overtime period. Freshman Justin Libertowski won the free kick while holding up play just outside the top of the box as he was fouled by a Davenport defender. Ardron's shot on the free kick was the only shot by either team in the overtime period.
"We don't like [giving up the lead], but we keep showing resolve," said AU head coach Oliver Slawson. "We're building a winning habit and a winning spirit."
"It says a lot about our fitness," Ardron said. "We worked incredibly hard on this spring on our fitness. It's predominantly down to that and then just a bit of quality in the last few moments that we know we have."
Freshman keeper Dimitrius Karousos was terrific in goal for the Eagles, making eight saves. Ashland's back line also kept the GLIAC's leading scorer, Brogan Shrimpton, off the board. He came into the game with 15 goals and scored four times in the teams' previous meeting.
The Eagles improved to 4-1 on the season at Ferguson Field and they have won six of their last seven at home dating back to last year.
"We've got to keep making this a real profitable place for us," Slawson said. "We've spent a lot of time on the road, a lot of time traveling away at facilities we've never been to. Now we're back at home with some time to train and get familiar with the surroundings again."
The Eagles will now hit the road for their final two road games of the regular season, beginning Friday (Oct. 13) at Northwood. Kickoff is set for noon.