The Ashland University men's soccer team had its four-game unbeaten run stopped as host Gannon defeated the Eagles, 2-1, in nonconference play on Tuesday (Oct. 23) evening in Erie, Pa.
The Golden Knights (10-5-1), who sit in second place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The Eagles scored the equalizer in the 59th minute, but PSAC leading scorer Sam Thornton nailed the winner in the 77th minute.
Ashland, playing its first nonconference match since Sept. 12, played many from its reserve unit as head coach Oliver Slawson prepares his full squad for the season finale on Friday and GLIAC Tournament play next week.
"It's obviously not the result we wanted, but there were a lot of positives," Slawson said. "We got to see some guys play who we've not seen for a while. We created some good chances and positive moments from some individuals to take with us moving forward."
Both Gannon goals came off corner kicks, the first scored by Austin Ludwik in the 11th minute. It was his first goal of the season.
The Eagles had their response in the second half as junior Andrew Pearson flicked in a shot off a pass by redshirt-sophomore Tomas Cordeiro. It was the first goal and assist of the season for each player, respectively.
"I'm really happy for Pearson to get his goal," said Slawson. "He's worked well all year without any luck or reward and he deserves more than what the stat sheets show. That will give his confidence a good lift."
The Eagles withstood the Golden Knights for much of the second half and continued to generate opportunities themselves, but Thornton delivered the game-winner off a corner kick with 13 minutes left.
"Disappointing to concede the two goals from set pieces," said Slawson. "Gannon are a good program, competing to win their conference. With what we set out to do tonight, aside from the set piece defending, we'll take a lot from the game moving forward."
The Eagles will turn their attention to Friday (Oct. 26) when they welcome GLIAC leader Saginaw Valley to Ferguson Field. Ashland has a chance to host a first-round conference tournament game with a win and a Northern Michigan loss or draw to Northwood. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.