The Ashland University women's soccer team scored three goals and the defense posted its fourth clean sheet of the season as the Eagles came away with a 3-0 win over Northwood on Senior Day, Sunday, Oct. 22 at Ferguson Field.
It was the final GLIAC game for both teams. The Eagles clinched the No. 2 seed in the GLIAC Tournament and will play No. 7-seed Northern Michigan on Oct. 31 at Ferguson Field in the quarterfinal. AU concludes the regular season on Friday (Oct. 27) against Tiffin in a nonconference game.
The Eagles recognized the nine seniors on the AU roster prior to the game and they were able to give the group a win on Senior Day.
"It's all you can ask for," said senior defender Julie Lacock. "We could have played better in the beginning, but we definitely stepped it up and had a couple seniors score."
The Eagles (10-5-1, 7-2 GLIAC) have now won 10 games in each of head coach Danny Krispinsky's five seasons at the helm.
Ashland had chances in the first half to score on Sunday, but they were not able to find the final connecting pass that would lead to a goal.
The Eagles opened the scoring in the 21st minute as senior Morgan Bittengle receied a ball deep in the Northwood penalty area and was shoved off the ball, inducing a penalty whistle. McKernan stepped over the kick and scored her second goal of the season to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The game remained 1-0 going into halftime, despite the Eagles leading in shots, 11-2.
The Eagles finally clicked offensively with a goal in the run of play in the 60th minute as sophomore Emily Ledbetter streaked down the right side and sent in a low cross. Bittengle put a nifty one-touch on the pass and redirected it inside the back post to double Ashland's lead.
"The standard that these girls have set is so high that even in a game that statistically is so in our favor, it's not satisfying to them," Krispinsky said. "We did not come out and play the way we needed to in the first half. They were disappointed about that at halftime. The keys to our game today were to not be comfortable and to play to our standard. In the first half, we did not do that.
"In the second half, we controlled the tempo, controlled the pace of the game. The movement off the ball was sharper, the passing was crisper and it led to more opportunities and goals for us."
The Eagles capped the scoring in the 85th minute as junior Sam Malleo played a perfect ball through the middle that freed Ledbetter behind the back line and the speedy wing calmly scored her first goal of the season.
"We've been working on playing quicker and finishing our opportunities and we did that very well today," said McKernan.
"Our defense set in and we really took it to them and controlled the game," said Lacock. "We got the ball to our forwards and mids and they did the rest."
The Eagles will conclude the regular season on Friday (Oct. 27) at 7 p.m. when they take on Tiffin in a nonconference affair.