The EMU soccer women made a bold statement in 2013 – we're back! With just one senior on the team, the Royals ended a two-year postseason drought by returning to the ODAC Tournament and posted a winning record for the first time since 2008.
Eastern Mennonite's women started the season 6-1, outscoring their opponents 22-5. Despite close losses to some of the ODAC's top teams, injuries started to wear on the limited depth of the roster by the end of the season.
At 5-7 in conference play, the Royals earned a spot in the eight-team ODAC Tournament, but were felled by eventual champion Lynchburg in the quarterfinals. The women ended the year with a record of 10-9, their first time over .500 since going 9-8 in 2008. It was also their most wins in a season since notching 13 victories in 2006.
A solid core of returners combined with an influx of new faces game EMU the perfect combination for the resurgent year.
"It was a pivotal year for EMU women's soccer," said Coach Sue Kolb after her third season. "The young leaders from 2012 grew into mature veterans while capitalizing on the technical aspect of the game. Additionally, with the addition of new faces, both transfers and freshmen, we were able to add a new dimension that was absent and desperately needed in regards to talent, personalities and numbers. 2013 put the finishing touches on a strong foundation built on hard work, talent and values."
Junior forward Nora Osei (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) capped one of the finest offensive seasons in program history and was named All-ODAC Second Team. Osei netted her second career hat trick in a 4-1 win over Cairn and she finished fourth in the ODAC with 14 goals on the season. Even with only two full seasons in the soccer program, Osei has vaulted to fourth in both the EMU career points and career goals list with 50 points and 23 goals.
Midfielder Morgan Hill (Martinsville, Va./Carlisle) was second in the conference with nine assists. With great field vision and an impeccable touch on corner kicks, the sophomore is already third on EMU's career assists list with 15. She is on pace to make a run at Ellie Lind's program record of 31 assists.
Despite being the unit which suffered the most from injuries during the year, the defense posted five shutouts.
Kolb said it was exciting over the opening weeks of the campaign to know the statement her women were making.
"Starting off our season 4-0 was a great feeling and an instant predictor of what we knew we could accomplish," she said. "Our team was experiencing a 'high' on life and soccer, and at that point it was evident the culture was changing. After two, much needed rebuilding years, 2013 started off strong and ended strong. Looking back, we could have easily been 12-6 in the regular season if we could have stayed healthy. Nonetheless, the season was a clear indicator that EMU women's soccer has turned a corner and will be a strong competitor once again in the ODAC."
The lone senior, defender Erica Detweiler (Hickory, N.C./Fred T. Foard), was named Academic All-District and won the President's Award at the end of the school year, which is EMU's highest honor for a student-athlete.
Kolb resigned as head coach in early February to take an academic advisor position at George Mason University. Ted Erickson, a 2005 Eastern Mennonite alumnus who has been coaching the Harrisonburg High School boys' team and assisting with the EMU men, was hired to take over the Royals women.