The EMU field hockey team worked their way back to the ODAC Tournament in 2013 after a one-year absence and landed three women on the All-ODAC teams.
The Royals finished fifth in the crowded Old Dominion Athletic Conference standings, but lost 2-1 in overtime at Bridgewater in their ODAC Quarterfinal game. All of Eastern Mennonite's wins came in conference play, as the women finished 4-4 in the ODAC and 4-15 overall with a tough non-conference schedule. It was also a year of feast-or-famine, as the Royals averaged 4.0 goals per game in their wins, but scored a total of six goals in their 15 losses.
Coach Brenda Bechler, second in program history with 107 wins in her 11 seasons, said the year had its ups and downs.
"The 2013 season proved to be a challenging season but with a number of highlights to be noted," she said. "We performed better in the ODAC and reached the ODAC tournament once again. We also played very well against Christopher Newport and Mary Washington, both nationally ranked teams. Although we did not win, we were very excited about how the team played together and handled the competition. I am excited to take this year and build on it in the coming season!"
After missing 2012 on her cross cultural semester, junior defender Mandy Stowers (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) tied a program record with 10 defensive saves and was named All-ODAC First Team. She also earned a spot on the VaSID All-State Second Team.
Fellow defender Bethany Hench (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle) was a rock in the middle of the back line, adding two defensive saves and her second All-ODAC Second Team award. Attacker Jenessa Derstine (Harleysville, Pa./Christopher Dock) led the offense with seven goals and four assists for 18 points, and earned an All-ODAC Third Team spot for the third straight year. Derstine also entered EMU's career scoring list and is tied with her coach, Bechler, for 33rd at 56 total points.
The Royals graduated three seniors, including goalie Mary Beth Danaher (Matoaca, Va./Matoaca), who leaves with 326 career saves for No. 3 in the EMU record book. But with six juniors on the team, including all of their All-ODAC honorees, the women looked poised for a good year in 2014.