AU Men Back Above .500 After 2-1 Home Win

AU Men Back Above .500 After 2-1 Home Win


THE TURNING POINT: Junior forward C.J. Mbaike scored an open-net goal in the 55th minute to give Ashland a lead it would not relinquish.

STAT OF THE DAY: The Eagles have scored two goals in each of their four wins in 2016.

Sunday (Sept. 25) evening marked the end of a good week in the development of Ashland University's men's soccer team, thanks to a 2-1 win over Ohio Dominican at Ferguson Field.

A two-win week for the Eagles puts them at 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Panthers are 2-5, 2-3.

"Every game we play in this conference is a learning curve, but it's a new opportunity and experience," said Ashland head coach Oliver Slawson. "We responded, but we still have a lot of goals, and learning to do.

"What I have seen is character. We bounced back and got two wins, and scored four goals in two games. The resolve, the character of the guys is pleasing."

Following a scoreless first half, the Eagles struck for the game's first goal in the 55th minute. Junior forward C.J. Mbaike found an open net following a collision and potted his second goal of the season.

"C.J., he's strong, he's dynamic, he's powerful and he's starting to understand where he needs to be and what he needs to do," Slawson said. "He's a man out there."

Then, in the 68th minute, a yellow card in the box set up sophomore forward Tomas Cordeiro's second goal of the fall on a penalty kick for a 2-0 Ashland advantage.

Ashland was 15 seconds away from a second consecutive clean sheet, but ODU's own penalty-kick goal ended the shutout.

Senior goalkeeper Nick Ciraldo made eight saves in the net for the Eagles, and Slawson praised the effort of his defense on Sunday – freshman midfielders Liam Duncan, Jordan Dees and Alexander Majors, junior defender Darren Burns and freshman defenders John Duldner and Zach Hillman.

"I thought (freshman forward) Clemente Gomez(-Morey) was probably our man of the match," added Slawson. "He kept the ball, he helped us. For a little guy, he presses and moves his feet.

"It's like any win or any loss. It's a team effort. We'll lose as a team and learn from it, and we'll win as a team and grow from it."

UP NEXT: A second consecutive home game on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at 7 p.m. against Walsh (3-4-1, 1-4-1).