Eagle Women Fend Off Cardinals In 1-0 Nail-Biter

Eagle Women Fend Off Cardinals In 1-0 Nail-Biter


THE TURNING POINT: Ashland junior forward Kelsey McKernan scored the only goal of the match from 30 yards out on a free kick during the 57th minute.

STAT OF THE GAME: Junior goalkeeper Courtney Barker recorded her fifth shutout this season, setting her personal record for shutouts in a season.

In temperatures calling for long sleeves and coats, Ashland University women's soccer team defeated Saginaw Valley State, 1-0, on Friday (Oct. 14) to remain tied for second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

"That's a big win," AU head coach Danny Krispinsky said. "This time of year, every win is big. Saginaw is a very good team, and that's big for our conference going forward." 

The game was scoreless after the first half despite the Eagles (8-1-3 overall, 5-1-1 GLIAC) taking nine shots in comparison to the Cardinals' (8-5-1, 2-4-1) four. 

Then, just 11:25 into the second half, Ashland junior forward Kelsey McKernan netted a free kick from 30 yards out to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage.

"I don't know if she was going for it or if she wasn't," Krispinsky said. "Regardless, at that point you need to make their goalkeeper work. Whether it's putting a shot on goal or making a defender cross. Kelsey did that. She made the goalkeeper work. And fortunately it was a quality enough strike that went in."

The goal moved McKernan into third on the team in points with seven on the season.

Throughout the second half, Saginaw outshot Ashland, 10-2, with most of its shots coming during the final 10 minutes of the match.

"I liked our performance for about 80 minutes," Krispinsky said. "Then I felt we just were kind of hanging on." 

AU's junior goalie Courtney Barker stopped eight shots in the match and notched her fifth shutout of the season, setting a new career high. The Eagles have seven shutouts as a team this year.

"It was a team effort," Krispinsky said. "We had effort from everybody there in the end. You can't win a game like that with just one person, play or effort."

Ashland is on a three-game win streak, with all of those victories coming against conference opponents. 

"We have to keep winning," Krispinsky said. "And today's game doesn't mean anything if we don't win on Sunday. So we have to get back at it. We'll get back to practice tomorrow and prepare for Sunday."

UP NEXT: The Eagles welcome Northwood (7-5, 4-3) to Ferguson Field on Sunday (Oct. 16) at 1 p.m.