The Ashland University men's soccer team won a thrilling, double-overtime game, beating visiting Purdue Northwest, 4-3, in GLIAC action on Friday (Oct. 6) night at Ferguson Field.
Sophomore outside back Cameron Mendel scored two goals, including the golden goal less than three minutes before time expired to give the Eagles the victory.
The Pride (3-6-1, 2-5 GLIAC) cleared a long restart, but the Eagles (5-6, 1-6 GLIAC) played the ball back into the box where freshman Justin Libertowski headed the ball to Mendel, who chested the ball down and drove his shot into the back of the net.
"Someone played it back in and I just saw space to my right," said Mendel. "I don't know if he heard me call for it or if he just put a head to it, but the ball came and I already had it in my mind – chesting it and letting it fly.
"I didn't even see it go in, my eyes were closed. Not even going to lie. I just heard the fans, everyone screaming. It was incredible."
The win for the Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak as they head into the final weeks of the season with five games in seven at home.
"We showed some real resolve, character and bravery in the box," said AU's second-year head coach Oliver Slawson. "We looked like a team that wanted to win. Hopefully this result will give us the bit of confidence we need."
Purdue Northwest opened the scoring in the 20th minute before the Eagles responded in the 29th as Mendel scored on the rebound of a shot by sophomore Liam Duncan.
The game remained tied heading into halftime, but the Eagles took the lead in the 59th minute. Freshman keeper Dimitrius Karousos sent a long distribution pass down the right side for sophomore Justin Kowalski, who carried the ball into the box and rifled a shot into the goal for his first of the season.
The Eagles doubled their lead in the 68th minute when freshman Yusuke Yasumasu drilled a shot past the PNW keeper off Kowalski's pass for his first career goal.
After the Eagles took the 3-1 lead, Purdue Northwest fought back and tied the game with two goals in the next seven minutes.
"We looked at 3-1 like a team that hadn't won in a couple of weeks, we looked nervous," Slawson said.
It seemed like the teams might score one or two more goals before the end of regulation as they played at a breakneck pace, but neither team could snap the tie until Mendel's strike in the 108th minute.
The two goals for Mendel were the first in his career. He was making just his second start of the season and appearing in only his third game.
"We need guys like him, because we have a long injury list," Slawson said. "He's stepped in a done a nice job. He's what this program is about because he's honest, he's hard-working and he leaves it all on the field. I'm really pleased for him."
The Eagles will look to ride their momentum into Sunday's (Oct. 8) contest against Davenport. Kickoff at Ferguson Field is slated for 3 p.m.