The Ashland University women's soccer team dismantled Notre Dame College, 3-0, on Wednesday (Sept. 5) night in front of a large crowd at Ferguson Field.
The Eagles (2-0-1) took the game to the Falcons (0-3) early and never looked back as they applied constant pressure on the NDC back line and keeper. Meanwhile, they managed to keep possession and flow away from the Falcons, who have struggled with scoring this season.
"Just a fantastic team result," said AU interim head coach Taylor Clarke. "It comes down to mentality and trying to limit, not just goals, but shots and chances. That comes from us having good possession and shape underneath the ball."
In the first 15 minutes, the Eagles had a golden opportunity to open the scoring as a cross by junior Emily Ledbetter was deflected onto the crossbar by the NDC keeper, but just stayed out of the goal.
Ashland broke through in the 30th minute as solid build-up of possession ended with sophomore Emily Mark laying a ball off for sophomore Abby Grzetic 24 yards from goal. Grzetic took a touch and struck a high-arcing shot over the keeper's head and through her hands to give AU a 1-0 lead. Mark and freshman Faith Lewis were credited with the assists.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead into halftime after holding an 8-1 edge in shots.
AU doubled its lead in the 58th minute as redshirt-junior Deijah Swihart sent in a low cross from the left side and was deflected into the goal by an NDC defender, who was trying to hold off Ledbetter from getting the tap in.
Ashland closed the scoring in the 80th minute as Lewis stepped to the penalty spot and converted to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
With the margin, Clarke was able to turn to the depth on his bench to provide steady, reliable minutes with a tall task against Bridgeport looming on Friday in Allendale, Mich. He played 23 players in the game with all of them seeing significant time on the field.
Sophomore keeper Hannah Lee and the starting back line of redshirt-junior Sydney Wright, freshman Tori Baker, freshman Mary Grace Haney and sophomore Rylie Howman earned their first clean sheet of the season.
The Eagles maintained a 16-7 edge in total shots and led in corner kicks, 2-0.
The Eagles will play the University of Bridgeport (Conn.) on Friday (Sept. 7) at the GVSU Soccer Field. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.