The Ashland University women's soccer team will continue its season-long five game road trip this weekend with a trip to greater Grand Rapids, Mich. for games against Davenport and No. 1 Grand Valley State.
The Eagles (7-1-4, 2-0-2 GLIAC) are looking to pick up their first win since Sept. 23 – a 5-0 triumph over Purdue Northwest at Ferguson Field. That was also the last time the Eagles played on their home turf.
On this trip, the Eagles will play two teams they have already seen, though this time they will count in the conference standings. Ashland toppled Davenport, 5-0, on Sept. 12, before earning a solid 0-0 draw against the Lakers two days later.
Those two results were part of a four-game stretch in which the Eagles did not surrender a goal. In the last three, however, the Eagles have conceded five times and have two ties and a loss. AU's 11-game unbeaten streak to start the season was its longest since 2001.
"Within each game, we've only had a couple of lapses that ended up costing us the game, so we're working on finishing games strong and finish how we start," said sophomore forward Hannah Simard. "We're not too worried about what happened the last couple weeks because we know we're a good team and we know we can beat the top-ranked teams."
The offense has been able to produce goals at a high rate, averaging 2.25 per game, which ranks fourth in the GLIAC.
Simard has been a major player in that regard with 12 points overall and ranking second on the team with five goals.
The Eagles have displayed impeccable balance in their attack as 11 players have scored a goal, including six who have been in the back of the net multiple times.
While the Eagles have struggled of late to keep opponents from scoring, their four-game string of clean sheets is indicative of the ceiling of that unit.
"As a member of the back four, we're trying to stop as many opportunities as we can," said sophomore wing back Rylie Howman. "I don't want them splitting us or getting behind us. I also want to get forward and create as many opportunities as I can. I just like to run [up the wings]."
After this tough road trip, the Eagles will finally return to Ferguson Field for their final three regular season games, all of which will be crucial for AU's GLIAC Tournament seeding and NCAA Tournament hopes.
Kickoff at Davenport is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 12), followed by a 1 p.m. start at top-ranked Grand Valley State on Sunday (Oct. 14).