The future looks bright for the field hockey women. Despite knowing they were out of the playoff picture going into Saturday's season finale against Lynchburg, the Royals played one of their better games of the year.
Eastern Mennonite had the ODAC-leading Hornets tied up at halftime before eventually falling by a final of 4-1. They end the year with a record of 7-10 overall, including 2-6 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The seven wins are the most since 2011.
The Hornets attempted a shot in the game's first minute, but the Royals were unfazed, getting the first shot on goal for either team on Emily Augsburger's (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) attempt in the fourth minute.
LC eventually got the first score out of a scrum in the 21st minute, but again, the women kept on the attack. Eastern Mennonite dominated the final 14 minutes of the half, owning a 10-3 advantage in shots. Emily Price (Hampton, Va./Homeschool) had two different attempts denied by defensive saves.
The second of those saved shots directly led to EMU's goal, as a long rebound came out to Lorraine Armstrong (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim), who slammed in the equalizer with just 11.8 seconds left in the half. For the senior, it was a thrilling sixth goal of the season, which is also a career high.
Lynchburg tacked in goals in the 46th and 53rd minutes, but the Royals kept pushing. Madeline Mast (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) had a sure goal denied in the 55th minute when LC's Hannah Krause slapped Mast's driven attempt out of the air. It was Krause's second defensive save of the game.
The Hornets added one more late for the final 4-1 margin.
EMU put up another 10 shots in the second half, attempting 22 for the game. It was the most shots allowed by Lynchburg in an ODAC game all season, and just the second and third times an opponent has hit double digit attempts in a half.
The Royals put 17 shots on goal, including five each from Augsburger and Courtney Ray (Yorktown, Va./York). Price put four on target.
Senior goalkeeper Hannah Daley (Lothian, Md./Southern) played her best game in her final effort, racking up 20 saves to keep EMU close. It was a career high for Daley, who is seventh in the ODAC with 68 saves despite playing only seven games between the pipes. Her .782 save percentage is third in the conference.
Coach E.A. Jackson it was a good way to end the year for her team: