The Ashland University women's soccer team will play host to a GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal game for the third consecutive season when it welcomes Northern Michigan to Ferguson Field on Tuesday (Oct. 31) afternoon at 1 p.m. Ashland is the No. 2 seed, while NMU is the No. 7 seed.
The Eagles (11-5-1) enter the postseason having won nine of their last 11 games, outscoring their last two opponents by an 8-1 margin.
That had been a concern for the Eagles lately as they have done a lot of damage on teams in the second halves of games, but struggled establishing themselves on the ball in the early-going.AU put together what might have been their most complete performance of the season on Friday (Oct. 27) when it dispatched Tiffin, 5-1, at Ferguson Field.
Senior forward Morgan Bittengle scored in the opening minute to give the Eagles a boost and they scored twice more in the first half, including a goal just 17 seconds before halftime, to jump on the Dragons early. AU allowed just two shots in the game.
Bittengle added two more goals in the second half for her second hat trick of the season. She also earned GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in October.
On Tuesday, the Eagles will play a Northern Michigan team that they beat 4-1 in Marquette on Oct. 15. Bittengle recorded her other hat trick this season in that game as the Eagles built a 4-0 lead in the second half. Ashland out-shot Northern Michigan, 18-5.
|GLIAC Tournament Ticket Prices|
|Seniors & non-AU Students||$3|
|AU Students w/ ID||$1|
Bittengle has been red-hot of late, having scored 10 goals in her last six games and 13 goals in the last 10 contests. She ranks second in the GLIAC in goals with 15 on the season and she now has 50 in her career.
The Eagles will also rely on a defense that has surrendered six goals in the last six games, only once allowing more than one goal in a single game.
The Wildcats (4-10-2) have won two of their last three games coming into the tournament. They beat Michigan Tech, 1-0, on Friday in double overtime on a goal by Jenna Halonen, who has scored eight of NMU's 15 goals on the year.
The GLIAC Tournament semifinals and championship game will be played on Friday (Nov. 3) and Sunday (Nov. 5) at the site of the highest remaining seed. Grand Valley State owns the top seed in the tournament. The winner of the AU-NMU game will play the winner between No. 3-seed Ferris State and No. 4-seed Saginaw Valley State.