The Royals had their chances against last year's ODAC champion Virginia Wesleyan, but an upset was not to be as the men lost 4-1 on the road Saturday night. Despite holding a solid edge in corner kick attempts, EMU came up short and was out-shot by their hosts as their record evens out at 2-2-2 on the season.
The soccer men earned a pair of corner kicks in the first 15 minutes, but had a header by Joao Downs (Limon, Costa Rica/Colegio de Limon Diurno) go high and an attempt from David Hooley (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) saved. The game stayed scoreless until the Marlins struck in the 26th minute to take a 1-0 lead.
VWC was whistled for a yellow card less than a minute before halftime, but a resulting attempt from Juan Luna (Mount Jackson, Va./Stonewall Jackson) bounced out off the crossbar, leaving the home team with the lead at the break.
The Marlins built a little breathing room in the 54th minute with their second goal. Senior Mark Mast (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) answered quickly for EMU, scoring with an assist from Jake Lind (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) to cut the score to 2-1.
The ray of hope was short-lived, however, as Virginia Wesleyan fired back with two more goals to build an unsurmountable lead.
Eastern Mennonite faced a 15-8 deficit in shots, including 8-4 on goal. Andrew Yoder (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) made one save in his 63 minutes. Freshman Ryan Zerkel (Mount Jackson, Va./Stonewall Jackson) picked up three saves in his 27 minutes of work. Mast scored the men's lone tally and no one had more than one shot on goal. Despite the shot differential, EMU had a 7-1 edge in corner kicks.
After their ODAC opener, the Royals step back out of conference play on Wednesday, hosting Gettysburg College at 7:00pm in Harrisonburg.