Eagle Men End Comeback Season With 2OT Win Over Tiffin

Eagle Men End Comeback Season With 2OT Win Over Tiffin


THE TURNING POINT: Down 4-1, Ashland freshman midfielder Thomas Ardron scored his first collegiate goal in the 74th minute to begin the Eagle comeback.

STAT OF THE DAY: The Eagles scored five goals on Sunday after scoring a total of five goals in the previous 10 games.

It was a game which had the Ashland University's men's soccer team wanting more – in a good way.

Two days after knocking off Findlay 1-0 at Ferguson Field on Friday (Oct. 28) night, the Eagles ended their comeback season with a 5-4 double-overtime upset of regionally-ranked Tiffin on Sunday (Oct. 30) at home.

Ashland ends 2016 with a 6-11-1 overall record and a 4-11-1 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Dragons, ranked fifth in the Midwest Region, are 12-4-2, 10-4-2 going into the GLIAC Tournament.

"Just great character," said Ashland head coach Oliver Slawson. "We'll look back at it (the season) thinking, 'What if?' But I think that was a true telling of our growth. It was just rewards. The teams we were playing (this weekend), their seasons weren't over. Both games were meaningful games. You've seen growth. That, on the second half alone, was a deserved win.

"We've showed we were good enough tonight."

The game-winning goal came in the 102nd minute, when freshman forward/midfielder Chad Johnson scored his second goal of the season on a pass from freshman midfielder Liam Duncan.

"It's been a team effort. We've been getting better and better every day," Johnson said. "It's been showing in the games, and we're finally getting the results."

What came before that is what has the Eagles wishing there were more games this fall.

After Duncan scored his first collegiate goal in the fourth minute on a feed from freshman forward Andrew Pearson, Tiffin scored a goal in the 22nd minute to tie the game at 1. Then, in the second half, the Dragons benefitted from a pair of AU own goals, then a fourth goal in the 72nd minute for a 4-1 advantage.

That's when the comeback began. Freshman midfielder Thomas Ardron scored an unassisted goal in the 74th minute to cut the deficit to 4-2, then freshman forward Clemente Gomez-Morey potted his third of 2016 on a Pearson assist to make it a 4-3 contest.

Ardron leveled the score in the 84th minute with his second goal of the game on a Duncan assist. Ashland's three goals in less than 11 minutes tied the game at 4.

After a scoreless first OT period, Johnson scored the game-winner to cap the season.

Senior goalkeeper Nick Ciraldo, in his final collegiate game, made 11 saves in the victory, including some to keep the Eagles at 4-4 prior to the game-winning goal.

"That's why we brought him here," Slawson said. "He's done that all year for us. We couldn't have gotten any of the things that we've gotten this year without Nick, on and off the field."

"The weeks leading up to this in practice have been sharp," Johnson said. "They've been better than ever, and it's finally showing in the games."