The No. 22-ranked Ashland University women's soccer team scored a first-half goal and maintained its lead throughout the game as the Eagles opened GLIAC play with a 1-0 win over UW-Parkside on Friday (Sept. 21) night at Ferguson Field.
The Eagles (6-0-2, 1-0 GLIAC) are undefeated in their first eight games for the second time in the last three years after starting 5-0-3 in 2016.
In Friday's contest against the GLIAC newcomer, the Eagles were strong defensively, getting seven saves from sophomore Abby Lampe as the defense kept the Rangers (1-5-2, 0-1 GLIAC) from getting quality chances inside the 18-yard box.
"It's been something we stress, to keep an eye on defending," said AU interim head coach Taylor Clarke. "It starts with our attackers, moves back through our midfield, and I thought our defenders were phenomenal, limiting chances for them. Even the shots they had were difficult, because we stepped out quickly."
It was the third straight clean sheet for the Eagles, who have not allowed a goal in their last 309 minutes.
Ashland was dominant on the ball throughout much of the game and scored the lone goal in the 18th minute. Junior Emily Ledbetter received a pass inside the 18 and played it wide for sophomore fullback Rylie Howman, who joined the attack and tucked her shot inside the near post for her first career goal. It was Ledbetter's second assist of the game.
The Eagles had chances to add to their lead the remainder of the contest, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities. Ashland held a 24-8 edge in total shots and an 11-7 lead in shots on goal.
"We need to be more decisive in the final third," said Clarke. "We get a lot of shots, but they need to be better shots, clearer chances for us. We need to be more decisive as a group and communicate what we want to do on the field."
The Eagles took nine corner kicks in the game against just one for the Rangers.
Ashland will conclude its five-game homestand on Sunday (Sept. 23) when it takes on Purdue Northwest in a GLIAC game. Kickoff at Ferguson Field is slated for noon.