AU soccer remains unbeaten in GLIAC play

By Chris Bils

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The Ashland men’s soccer team was in action at home Friday against Northwood and again on Sunday as they took on Saginaw Valley State. The Eagles were able to stay unbeaten in GLIAC play, at 5-0-1, beating Northwood 2-1 and tying 1-1 against a tough Saginaw Valley State team. They scored three times while conceding twice over the weekend.

Northwood

It didn’t take long for Ashland to grab the lead Friday night, as freshman forward Louis Clark scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season in the third minute of the game against Northwood (3-4-2, 1-3-2 GLIAC).

Mike Kennedy sent a ball in from the right side, which was brought down by Clark and struck into the bottom left corner of the net from eight yards out.

Clark also had a hand in the second goal of the game (not literally), crossing the ball into the center of the field, where Andrew Iden finished from seven yards for his third goal of the year in the 35th minute.

Northwood did their best to claw back into the game, forcing a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Chen Tzfania converted, pulling Ashland’s lead back to only one goal. The Eagles would hold on for the win in a physical game that may have looked more like a fight at times.

There were seven yellow cards dished out in the game (NU:4, AU:3) and a Northwood player was red carded following an altercation that happened after the final whistle.

Saginaw Valley State

Anyone who was in Ashland Sunday will know that it was a nice day to curl up in a ball with a cup of hot chocolate. The 45 degree temperature at the start of the men’s soccer game against Saginaw Valley State felt even colder due to the rain and gusty winds that came and went throughout the match.

Despite these conditions, no one curled up in a ball for a solid 100 minutes of play that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Saginaw Valley State Cardinals scored first, as freshman Zach Walega headed home a free kick from junior Andy Burgeson in the seventh minute.

It took the Eagles until almost halftime to find an equalizer. The goal came in the form of a Danny Lusheck volley into the left corner of the goal on a cross from Kenny Hewitt.

“I just passed the ball to my center mid who swung it out wide to Kenny (Hewitt). Whenever Kenny gets the ball you can expect a good ball into the box. I made my run and just finished an excellent cross,” Lusheck said.

Lusheck, a sophomore from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, had been playing defense on the right side until a recent injury (that of senior wing Tom Rankin) has forced a change in lineup for the Eagles. Lusheck has been playing well in the temporary role and it showed Sunday as he scored his first goal of the season.

“Tom (Rankin) is a great player and I think we’re all hoping he will have a quick recovery so he can come back as soon as possible,” Lusheck said of the position change. “The adjustment (to wing) has been fine. I scored my first goal today and hopefully I can play well in that spot until Tom is back on the field.”

The intensity increased as time wore on but both teams’ offenses got colder along with the temperature. In overtime, both teams created a few chances with nothing to show for it.

The draw moves Ashland’s record to 7-2-1 and 5-0-1 in GLIAC play.

The Eagles are off until Friday when they will travel to Pennsylvania to take on Slippery Rock.

Ashland is currently ranked 15th in the NSCAA Division II Rankings.

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