Wildcats Insider: Ashton hits century mark
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Friday, Oct. 18, 2013

Wildcats Insider: Ashton hits century mark

  • Upcoming events Sunday, Oct. 20 Women’s Soccer: vs. Elon, Alumni Soccer Stadium, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 Men’s Soccer: at Wake Forest, Winston-Salem, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 Women’s Soccer: at Wofford, Spartanburg, S.C., 6 p.m. Field Hockey: vs. Liberty, Carol Grotnes Belk Turf Field, 6:30 p.m. Volleyball: vs. Western Carolina, Belk Arena, 7 p.m. Women’s Tennis: at Charlotte Invitational. Saturday, Oct. 26 Football: at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Fla. 1 p.m. Volleyball: vs. Appalachian State, Belk Arena, 2 p.m. Men's Soccer: vs. Elon, Alumni Soccer Stadium, 7 p.m. Source: www.davidsonwildcats.com

It’s been an up-and-down season for the Davidson women’s soccer team. The chemistry has been there and the overall play has been solid, but results haven’t been easy to string together.

So with a chance to pick up back-to-back victories for just the second time all year – coupled with the fact that a win would give coach Greg Ashton 100 for his Wildcats career – no one took any chances when Davidson traveled to Francis Marion University on Oct. 13.

The tactic paid off with a 4-3 win.

“We didn’t want to prepare something (special for coach Ashton) before the game and jinx it, to be perfectly honest,” Davidson senior Meg Sanborn said.

“But we’re planning something now.”

The Wildcats win – which was led by freshman Ashley Finke and Kate Joss, who each netted their first two collegiate goals – improved the team to 5-7-3 (3-2 in the Southern Conference) on the season.

It also brought Ashton, who has been the Wildcats’ head coach for the past 10 seasons, to within 18 victories of becoming the winningest coach in program history.

“I think (Ashton) deserves it more than any other coach that I’ve had,” Sanborn said. “Davidson is just a unique school and he’s been able to adjust his coaching style and his recruiting style to bring the best players that he could.”

Ashton’s overall record now stands at 100-76-24. The game was the 200th of his career.

“I just want the girls to worry about playing well,” Ashton said. “They shouldn’t be worried about me getting 100 wins or whatever. They just need to concern themselves about doing well in school and doing the best they can on the field. “

Ashton, who began coaching soccer at the age of 15 in New Zealand, said that there are days that it feels like he’s been with the program for 10 years, as well as days that he can’t believe how fast time has flown by.

Asked to think back on some of his fondest moments on the Davidson sideline, Ashton cited the Wildcats 1-0 conference tournament win over the College of Charleston in 2009 that came late in double-overtime and sent the program to its first NCAA tournament.

“(100 wins) is a milestone,” he said before quickly returning to focus on the task at hand. “Hopefully we can move on from that and keep getting results.”

Celebrating 25 years

The Davidson women’s soccer program is set to celebrate its 25th anniversary Oct. 20, and the milestone has many of the current players and coaching staff looking back.

“I’ve been reflecting on my four years here at Davidson,” Wildcats senior Meg Sanborn said. “Having seen the program since I was a sophomore in high school and just seeing how it’s developed. I think (the coaching staff) has done an amazing job.”

There will be a celebratory brunch that day that will feature speeches from past players.

“Some of the current Davidson players have been calling alumni on behalf of the Athletic Foundation and we’ve spoken to players who were from the class of 2000-01 and they wanted to know how we were doing,” Sanborn said. “They wanted to talk about this season and the team. That was pretty cool to be able to speak with them.”

“I think that 25 years of women’s soccer in a phenomenal achievement,” coach Ashton said. “You’re thinking about over 180 females that have been through the program. They’ve all had different experiences obviously, but they’ve all contributed to the program in one way or another and we just wanted to be able to thank them and recognize them. It’s going to be exciting.

“There’s a number of girls that are coming back that played for me and some that go back even further. We’re hoping that just getting them back on campus that they’ll be an inspiration to our current crop of kids.”

Seth Lakso is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Seth? Email him at at sethlakso@gmail.com .

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