In need of a few more non-conference games after a 1-3 start to the season, the Royals gladly took part in the Menno Soccer Classic this weekend in Lansdale, Pa. Eastern Mennonite's men opened with Bluffton University in the nightcap of day one and played well as a team, getting 18 shots. As close as they came, none of the shots found net as EMU slipped to a 1-0 loss.
The Royals had the wind at their backs in the first half, but couldn't capitalize. EMU did have a number of good looks in the frame, with one being called off by an offsides and later the Beaver keeper making a nice tip to stop a rifle shot from Bryce Shank (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite).
In an even second half, Bluffton got the first edge. After EMU keeper Hayden Miller (New Market, Va./Stonewall Jackson) punched out a save on a long shot, the Beavers' Jason Hudson was there to pound in the rebound, putting the Ohio team on top, 1-0, with 27:20 remaining.
The Royals got aggressive down the stretch and got another flurry of good scoring chances. Shank had a shot knocked away by a Bluffton defender on the goal line. Ryan Eshleman (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) launched a shot from the top of the box that the Beavers' Dan Saville made a diving save on. With 11 minutes left, Eshleman fired another shot that Saville grabbed.
As time ticked away, EMU continued to just miss on their shots as Bluffton held on for the 1-0 win.
Despite out shooting the Beavers 18-11, the men came out on the short end of the decision. The Royals played an aggressive game, forcing Bluffton into six saves. Two of those were made by defenders.
The Royals, now 1-4, play NAIA Goshen Sunday afternoon to close out the Classic. Game time is at 3:00pm.