Playing their first home ODAC Tournament game since 2006, EMU's soccer women suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss Monday night to ninth-seeded Randolph College. The Royals end the year with a record of 8-10-1.
The eight wins are the most in Coach Ted Erickson's three seasons and second-highest total since 2008. After earning six more victories this year than in 2015 with a roster consisting of no graduating seniors and nearly 50% of players new to the program, the future looks bright for Eastern Mennonite.
Randolph (6-10-1) advances in the ODAC Tournament and plays at top-seeded Washington and Lee on Wednesday.
Played in front of a raucous Halloween crowd, Monday's tourney game had a great atmosphere, but the first half was low on good scoring chances. The WildCats came out very aggressively but still only had a 4-2 edge in shots.
EMU had the best chance of the half when Ariel Barbosa (Baltimore, Md./Towson) sprung open on the left side of a 3-on-2 breakaway, but her left-footed attempt went straight to Randolph keeper Quinn-Lynn Bates.
The women stepped it up after the intermission and took the first three shots of the second. Amanda Williams (Millsboro, Del./Delmarva Christian) had a nice breakaway stopped just three minutes in, and Laura Rittenhouse (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) and Marcy Smucker (Woodward, Pa./Penns Valley) sent shots off the mark.
Randolph gained more of an edge midway through the frame and got the game's only goal when Patricia Garrett got a through ball up the right side and went far post to beat keeper Leah Wenger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) in the 72nd minute.
The Royals put three more shots on mark over the final 18 minutes, but Bates stopped attempts from Sierra Martin (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs), Rittenhouse and Smucker to preserve the margin.
Shots ended even at 10-10 apiece, with EMU winning the second, 8-6. Each team put seven on goal. Wenger finished with six saves.
Erickson said he hopes the taste of a home game in the postseason tourney lights a fire for his players and their offseason work: