Lady Cards topple unbeaten Ashland, 2-1

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The No. 24-ranked SVSU women’s soccer team topped previously unbeaten Ashland in dramatic fashion on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Freshman defender Carlee Davis’ first goal of her SVSU career came just at the right time, a double overtime dagger that completed a 2-1 comeback victory for the Cardinals.

“There was so much excitement following Carlee’s goal in double OT,” said senior forward Kayla Trevino, who also scored a goal in the contest. “The team sprinted on the field to congratulate each other. It was such a joy to see my teammates hugging, laughing and smiling.”

After a sluggish start that led to seven Ashland shots in the match’s first 10 minutes, SVSU conceded an early goal, as AU’s Hannah Simard found the back of the net in the 12th minute to make it 1-0 in favor of the Eagles.

“The start to the game just wasn’t good enough,” head coach Michael O’Neill said. “We put ourselves in a tough spot going a goal down. We were a little bit too tentative and hesitant all over the field.”

However, SVSU began to turn it around from there, rattling off six shots of its own as the half progressed.

In the 26th minute, after being subbed in, Trevino took advantage of a lapse by Ashland’s back line, as the Eagles’ center back got the ball and was in the process of passing it back to Ashland’s keeper, Hannah Lee. Trevino took the risk and pressed, which led to a turnover as she won the ball on the pass back to Lee.

Following the turnover, Lee took away the near-post angle, leaving the left side of the goal open as Trevino found the back of the net for the equalizer, making the score 1-1 heading into halftime.

“Before the game started, there was some self-reflection in the locker room,” Trevino said. “(Saturday) marked six guaranteed games left of my career. I knew I had to get the team back in the game and give us a spark.”

The second half went back and forth, as the teams combined for 12 shots over the final 45 minutes of play. However, SVSU sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Watts (two saves in the game) and the SVSU defense held strong, and the game went to overtime.

After a quiet first overtime, Davis found the back of the net in thrilling fashion on an assist from senior defender Amanda Minissale on a set piece that netted the Cardinals the goal and the win.

“Our team has an incredible ability to fight,” Trevino said. “If we get knocked down, if the play or the half is not going the way we thought, we pick each other up and fight. After going down a goal, we knew it was time to get back up and fight until the last whistle.”

With the win, the team improved to 9-1-2 on the season. The game marked the team’s third overtime contest of the season, with the other two bouts ending in ties.

“I’m extremely proud of the response and the character that the girls showed to come back from a goal down,” O’Neill said. “It takes a lot of fight and a lot of heart to do that, because that’s a good team.”

From here, SVSU will face an even tougher test as it travels to Allendale for a date with No. 2 Grand Valley. The Lakers come in with an 11-0-1 record, with its only tie coming against Ashland. Kickoff is set for Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m.