The Ashland University men's soccer team got a hat trick from junior striker Justin Libertowski on the way to a 4-0 thrashing of Upper Iowa on Friday (Oct. 25) night in GLIAC action at Ferguson Field.
Libertowski, who came into the game scoreless on the season, nailed his second career hat trick – the first coming on Aug. 30, 2018 against Lake Erie.
"It felt great, a weight off my shoulders," Libertowski said. "I think I put a little too much pressure on myself at the beginning of the season. Coming out, having a great team win, grabbing a couple goals is a great feeling."
The Eagles (5-8, 5-5 GLIAC) sit tied for fifth in the GLIAC table with 15 points, their most since the program's reinstatement in 2016. AU still has four games remaining in the regular season and is just three points off third place.
Libertowski got Ashland off the blocks in the third minute as junior George Brown played a cross to the back post where redshirt-junior Jackson Crawford got on the end of it. He settled the ball and squared it to Libertowski, who beat the keeper and give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. It was Crawford's first assist of the season.
The second came in the 21st minute as junior Yusuke Yasumasu sent a ball to the end line senior John Duldner one-touched a cross to the middle. Redshirt-sophomore Kieran Paterson deflected it to Libertowski, who again had a clinical finish. Duldner has a team-high four assists and Paterson notched his first.
"It was huge for our midfielders to win the balls, get it out wide to whip it in, and let the forwards do the rest," Libertowski said. "It was just great team play."
After halftime, the Eagles continued pushing and Libertowski got his third in the 52nd minute when senior Jordan Dees hit a diagonal ball from the midfield to Libertowski, who poked it underneath the keeper for a hat trick. It was Dees' first assist of the season.
Ashland, which led in shots, 33-8, added the fourth in the 88th minute as redshirt-senior Tomas Cordeiro headed a ball down for senior Andrew Pearson, who hit a left-footed rocket into the postage stamp from 22 yards for his third goal of the season. Cordeiro registered his first assist.
"We have to build from it, keep working on it and doing the things that are working," Libertowski said.
The Eagles will now play host to Purdue Northwest (1-11-2, 1-7-2 GLIAC) on Sunday (Oct. 27) at 2:30 p.m. Ashland will recognize the six members of its senior class prior to the game.