Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — DES MOINES – Ashford came away with three wins in four tries on the soccer pitch over the weekend.
The 15th-ranked Ashford men’s team concluded a weekend sweep Sunday when the Saints beat AIB College of Business 3-1 for its fourth consecutive victory. Saturday trhe Saints took 27 shots and scored nine goals as they blasted Avila (Mo.) 9-0, also at the James W. Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.
The Ashford women suffered their first loss Saturday, 1-0 against Avila, but the Saints bounced back Sunday and beat AIB 4-0.
Offense carries Ashford men
After a scoreless first half Sunday, the Ashford men allowed their lone goal of the weekend right after the second-half whistle. But from that point the match belonged to the road squad, as the Saints banged home three goals during the remaining 41 minutes of the contest to improve to 4-1 overall this season.
AIB’s Rodrigo Espriu tallied the Eagles lone score in the 49th minute to give AIB (3-3) a 1-0 lead.
However, the Saints silenced any hope of an upset bid from the Eagles as newcomer Murilo Ceruli netted a 50th-minute unassisted score, his first of the season to pull AU back even.
Lucas Almeida then struck just 35 seconds later, from the penalty spot, to notch his fifth goal of the 2013 campaign, and his first game-winning goal of the season.
The Saints got some insurance late when Daniel Dreier continued his torrid stretch of finding the net with a 87th minute score, his sixth of the season, to finalize Ashford’s 3-1 victory. Almeida assisted AU’s final goal, his second of the season.
Ashford outshot the Eagles by a 20-19 margin that included a 9-7 edge in shots on goal. The road team also earned five corner kicks. Senior netminder Patrick Kinsella turned away six AIB shots.
Dreier tallied a hat trick in the win against Avila, while Javier Ramirez added a pair of scores.
The Saints netted four first half goals, with all four coming in a stretch of 11 minutes. Ramirez scored the first AU goal in the 15th minute and added a second during the 25th minute. Dreier notched his first-half strike in the 19th minute, and Almeida netted a 26th-minute score to give AU a 4-0 lead at the break.
Ashford outshot their opponents 17-2 in the first half and turned up the pressure after the break.
Dreier, a Wellendorf, Germany, native, scored in the 54th minute and tallied the hat trick in the 70th minute. He was joined in the second-half scoring column by Luiz Mota (56th minute), Paul Ledsham (69th minute) and Caio Ruiz (76th minute).
For the match, the Saints outshot Avila 27-7, which included a 17-2 clip in shots on goal.
Kinsella stopped a pair of shots while totaling his first clean sheet of the 2013 season. It marked the ninth shutout in Kinsella’s stint as a Saint.
Ashford returns home to face Olivet Nazarene at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Women earn split
Playing their second contest in less than 24 hours, the No. 20 Ashford (4-1) avenged their first loss of the season Sunday afternoon, scoring all four of their goals in the first half.
Freshman Hannah Scheid scored twice to record her first career multi-goal game for the Saints, who also got goals from senior Sarah Schreck and sophomore Rochelle Douglas.
Senior goalkeeper Jessica VanDyke turned in her fourth clean sheet of the season, turning aside five Eagles shots for her ninth career shutout.
Douglas opened the scoring in the third minute, beating Eagles goalkeeper Samantha Noffke for an unassisted goal and her first career point.
Scheid scored in the 25th minute on another solo effort. Then, with time in the first half ticking down, the Saints added two more tallies to put the game out of reach. Schreck netted her third of the season in the 43rd minute, taking a feed from Alica Kanbach and finding the back of the net, and Scheid added another unassisted goal in the final minute of the half.
AU held a 20-11 advantage in total shots, with sophomore Courtney Babut’s four shots leading the team.
Ashford suffered its first loss Saturday in the battle of unbeaten squads.
Avila’s Caryn Welch scored the game’s lone goal at the 69:32 mark on a feed from Jamie Nilica, the first goal scored against an Ashford team in the past 359:08.
Schreck launched a game-high five shots, all on goal, for AU. Senior Hollie Babut and Scheid each attempted three shot as the Saints held an 18-15 edge in the shots department.
VanDyke stopped eight Avila shots on goal but took the loss to fall to 3-1. Stephanie Gartner turned aside nine shots at the other end, helping the Eagles improve to 5-0.
The Saints will return to Clinton for the first of three consecutive home matches Saturday, when they welcome Judson for a 1 p.m. match.