The Ashland University men's soccer team played its third straight overtime game and sophomore Justin Libertowski scored the game-winner in the 96th minute as the Eagles defeated Davenport, 2-1, on Sunday (Oct. 7) afternoon at Ferguson Field.
The Eagles (3-8-1, 2-6 GLIAC) earned a crucial three points in the GLIAC standings as they moved into a tie for sixth with the Panthers (3-9-1, 2-6 GLIAC), who won the GLIAC Tournament championship last season. The top six teams in the conference will qualify for the conference tournament.
Ashland, which had lost its previous two games in overtime, finally had their breakthrough on Sunday. It came in the sixth minute of the first overtime period as a cleared ball was sent back into the box by junior Alexander Majors. Redshirt-freshman Kieran Paterson contested for a header and the ball fell to Libertowski, who cleverly settled the ball and scored inside the near post.
"It's been a continuation of what we've done the last four games," said third-year head coach Oliver Slawson. "We've been there, we've been close, and that's the first bit of luck we've had this year. We're doing great, playing well. The ball just hasn't dropped for us and thankfully today in a big moment, it did, and Libertowski did what he does best."
Libertowski is now third in the GLIAC with six goals on the season. Majors and Paterson each tallied their first assists.
"He's got such a low center of gravity that he can twist and turn in the box," Slawson said. "He's a goal scorer so he just thinks about scoring. But it took a team. The lads at the back held firm. They had two chances and got one."
The Panthers scored the game's first goal in the 15th minute as reigning GLIAC Player of the Year Brogan Shrimpton got on the end of a cross on the counter and headed in his seventh goal of the season.
The Eagles applied more pressure than the Panthers in the opening half, but were not able to get a goal as Davenport looked willing to cede possession to Ashland and work off the counter.
Ashland's pressure led to a goal in the 57th minute as Libertowski worked down the right flank and cut back to lift a cross that Paterson headed inside the near post for his second goal of the season. It was Libertowski's first assist of the season.
"It's just been a continuation of the last four games in terms of the areas we're playing in," said Slawson. "We've been the better side for large periods of these games, but just haven't had much luck. Today's the day it's turned for us."
Sophomore keeper Dimitrius Karousos was excellent in leading Ashland's back line, finishing with nine saves in the game. His counterpart, Eric Riley, made two saves for Davenport.
The Eagles will now play their next four games away from Ferguson Field, beginning Friday (Oct. 12) at Northwood at 2 p.m.