The Ashland University men's soccer team put together its most complete performance of the season by blanking Northwood, 2-0, on Sunday (Sept. 30) afternoon at Ferguson Field.
It was the first GLIAC win of the season for the Eagles (2-6-1, 1-4 GLIAC), who earned a crucial three points as they look to begin a climb in the conference standings.
The Eagles scored on either side of halftime and looked fluid on the ball throughout the game as they willed themselves to a clean sheet. Sophomore Dimitrius Karousos made nine saves to preserve the shutout as he faced 24 shots from the Timberwolves (4-5, 2-3 GLIAC).
"We're really proud of the boys, because we decided to win, we decided to get better," said AU assistant coach Juan Fajardo. "We saw that today. We saw it in the last game, but we didn't get the result. Today we did and now we can move forward."
Ashland got on the board in the 26th minute as sophomore George Brown carried the ball down the left wing and sent a perfect cross to the back post for redshirt-freshman Kieran Paterson, who rose above the ball and his defender for a perfect header. It was Paterson's first goal of the season and Brown's first assist.
The Eagles held a 9-6 advantage in total shots in the first half.
Ashland continued to look strong in the second half, and went down a man in the 56th minute. But just 36 seconds later, sophomore Justin Libertowski was wiped out in the box, drawing a penalty kick. Junior John Duldner capitalized with his first goal of the season, smashing a clinical strike past NU keeper Corbin Cecchini.
The Eagles withstood Northwood pressure in seeing out the final 35 minutes and keeping the clean sheet, even playing with 10 men. They were able to use the counterattack to take time off the clock and Paterson was strong with his back to goal holding up play.
"Today was the perfect example to show our team that we can do it," said Fajardo. "It's in our hands. That's what we needed today to change our path. Sometimes we're naive with the lead, and that won't happen again."
The Eagles have a three-game week upcoming, starting with a road trip to Saginaw Valley State on Wednesday (Oct. 3) at 2:30 p.m. AU returns to Ferguson Field to play Purdue Northwest on Friday (Oct. 5) at 7 p.m.