ASHLAND, OH — Justin Ashenfelter of West Unity, OH, is a kicker and punter for the Ashland University Eagles Football Team, which begins their quest for a national championship at home against Grand Valley State in an NCAA Division II Super Region 4 quarterfinal on Saturday (Nov. 21) at noon at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field.
The Eagles (10-0) are co-champs of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and is the super region’s third seed, while the Lakers (9-2) are its sixth seed.
AU has won two consecutive games against GVSU, including this year on Oct. 31, a 45-31 decision at home. The Lakers lead the all-time series, 16-4.
“It’s tough to beat a good football team once, much less twice, in the same season,” said Ashland head coach Lee Owens. “Grand Valley is so talented. We played really, really well the first time we played them, and you have to hope that we can play as well this time.
“They’re a tough out. They’ve got great players and a great tradition, and they’re playoff-tested. It’s a tough draw for us.”
Ashland earned its second undefeated regular season in the last four years this fall. The Eagles have won a school-record 12 consecutive home games.
This is the Ashland football program’s sixth trip to the Division II playoffs (1986, 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2012). Saturday’s game will be the program’s third-ever home postseason contest.
“We’re a little bit more battle-tested, I think, than 2012, with the schedule we played, which is important,” Owens said. “We need to be battle-tested to play a team like Grand Valley. We don’t have the playoff history or tradition that they do, we haven’t had the playoff success they have. It’s going to take a tough effort on our part to win.”