The Ashland University women's soccer team scored a dramatic late winner to upend previously-undefeated Notre Dame College, 2-1, on Tuesday (Sept. 26) night at Ferguson Field.
The Eagles (4-3-1) were playing their first game on their home turf since Sept. 2 and the hosts did not disappoint with their result.
After giving up the game-tying goal in the 77th minute, the Eagles responded with more energy and possession with the pay-off coming in the 89th minute.
"It felt like something was coming because we were creating, we were dominant on the ball again," said AU head coach Danny Krispinsky. "You could see the look in their eyes that said, 'we're going to go after this.'"
Senior wing defender Bridget McEldowney took a ball on the left side and created space before sending in a cross to the top of the six-yard box where sophomore defensive midfielder Korinna Lakes knocked in a header under the crossbar.
"A lot of times that's how our team finishes, we'll get a nice corner off a good play, or we'll put the ball into dangerous areas and fight it out," said Lakes, who now has two goals on the season.
The Falcons (7-1), who entered the game receiving votes outside the Top 25 in the national coaches' poll, started the game with more of the possession and the Eagles working on the counter-attack. Ashland, with its pace, was able to draw a corner kick in the 11th minute.
Senior forward Kelsey McKernan sent the cross into the goalie area and senior forward Morgan Bittengle flicked a header into the goal for her third goal of the season. McKernan was credited with her second assist.
The Falcons continued to hold their attack in the first half, out-shooting the Eagles by a 7-3 margin.
"They're a good team. They do a few things that we haven't seen before," said Krispinsky. "We were feeling them out and seeing how we could defend them. The second half we felt more comfortable with what they were doing and we were able to see more of the ball and go after them."
The Eagles held a 9-2 advantage in shots in the second half and 12-9 overall.
"We did a better job in the midfield finding the ball, picking up the ball and finding the spaces," said Lakes. "The defense was able to clear it out better and the forwards kept it a little better also."
NDC's equalizer came in the 77th minute when Alexis Manoa took the ball off an AU defender in the offensive third and beat another defender and AU keeper Abby Lampe for the goal.
"Once they equalized there, I felt our girls really turned up the tempo and turned up the pressure and we took back control of the game," said Krispinsky.
The Eagles held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. Bittengle led the Eagles with five shots and Lampe made five saves to earn the victory.
Ashland will now resume GLIAC play on Friday (Sept. 29) when it travels to Davenport to take on the conference newcomer in Grand Rapids, Mich. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.