CLINTON – With time ticking down and its season close to ending, the Ashford University men’s soccer team was singing the blues.
By the end of the afternoon, the Saints were singing “Sweet Home Alabama” in front of their home fans for the second year in a row.
Down 2-1 to Cardinal Stritch University in the opening round of the 2013 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship, Saints sophomore Tim Krautheim tied the game with 43 seconds to play in regulation. Junior Javier Ramirez netted the golden goal in double overtime to propel the Saints to a 3-2 win over the Wolves.
With the win, Ashford improved to 14-4-1 on the year and advances to the Round of 16 in Montgomery, Ala., Dec. 2-7.
“It was an absolute battle today,” Saints coach Richard Markham said after the game. “Cardinal Stritch is a very good team and they came ready to play today. Our guys made some big plays in crunch time and that was huge to keep our season going.”
On a cold and frigid day at South Campus, the Saints fell behind the Wolves a mere 3:40 in to the game when Will Spurway pounded a shot past Saints’ goalkeeper Chris Higgins to make it 1-0.
But the Saints would answer in the 29th minute when Germany-native Johannes Langhans took a feed from fellow countryman Daniel Dreier and beat Wolves’ keeper Jim Jones for his first career goal.
The teams were tied coming out of halftime, and Ashford nearly took the lead early in the second half when Jones fired a clearing attempt off one of his defenders. The ball was rolling towards the net, but went just wide.
Stritch made it a 2-1 game with 20 minutes to play thanks to a goal from Josh Roberts, putting the Saints’ back up against the wall.
Ashford began to put pressure on the Wolves’ net, but couldn’t find the tying marker as time ticked under one minute to play.