The Ashland University men's soccer team lost a heartbreaker to visiting Walsh, 3-2, on Wednesday (Sept. 11) night in its home opener at Ferguson Field.
Walsh's Dwight Van Dyke scored all three goals for the Cavaliers (3-0), who remained undefeated on the season.
The Eagles (0-2) had their chances throughout the match, but were not able to turn them into goals, even as they pressed forward with numbers in possession as the match wore on.
"For 80 minutes we were very good," said head coach Oliver Slawson. "Box crosses, areas of possession, time spent on the ball, chance creation, everything. We need to take the chances we create. Our conversion ratio was poor, but to lose two games from four shots all outside the box is disappointing."
The Eagles opened the scoring of what turned into a highly entertaining fixture in the ninth minute. Ashland won a throw-in 15 yards from goal and the long heave from senior Alexander Majors found the head of senior Andrew Pearson whose flick caromed inside the back post.
Van Dyke had a response eight minutes later, then added a brilliant goal from the right wing, outside the area, that he fed inside the back post, past Ashland's diving goalkeeper, Hakeem Metzger gave Walsh the lead.
The Cavaliers took their 2-1 lead into halftime.
For the game, the Eagles maintained 55 percent possession with nearly 70 percent of that coming on the Walsh side of the field.
The Eagles continued to press in the second half and equalized through an own goal by the Cavaliers as Corban James-Barrett passed the ball over the head of keeper Ethan Burawa in the 55th minute.
The game looked destined for overtime even as Ashland sought a winner, but Van Dyke won a battle for the ball at midfield and hit a laser from 35 yards to provide the difference just three minutes before overtime.
Metzger and Burawa stopped three shots each.
The Eagles, still missing key players from last year's NCAA Tournament team due to injury, will return to the pitch on Saturday (Sept. 14) at 7 p.m. at Cedarville.
"We still have guys to come back, guys who have been integral to us and it's early," Slawson said. "All our goals are still ahead of us. We're looking forward to a good opportunity Saturday at Cedarville."