While most games are defined by a "win" or "loss," EMU's field hockey women can mark Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Bridgewater down under the "played one of the best games of the year" category. The Royals came back from two different deficits in the game before finally dropping the tight decision to last year's ODAC champions.
The loss drops EMU to 5-8 on the season and 0-4 in ODAC play, meaning they need to win all four of their remaining conference games to make the postseason tournament.
But in the second season of Coach E.A. Jackson, success continues to be about building foundations, and Wednesday's contest showed a grit and resiliency that Jackson expects to define her program.
Bridgewater (9-5 / 4-1 ODAC) got the board in the fifth minute, when Tessa Tierson picked off an errant pass in the defensive third and hit the cage.
Eastern Mennonite went on the attack, firing four shots before Emily Augsburger (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) hit the equalizer in the 16th minute. The junior took a feed from Madeline Mast (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) on a corner and drove a rocket into the back of the cage.
The Eagles jumped right back in front two minutes later, getting a goal from Madison Clement.
The 2-1 margin held until early in the second half, when freshman Emily Price (Hampton, Va./Homeschool) stole a pass from BC's goalkeeper and buried her 10th goal of the season in the 40th minute.
The teams traded barbs for the next 18 minutes. Augsburger made a defensive save in the 46th, but the Eagles returned the favor on her in the 54th.
Finally with 12:08 to play, Emily Matisons scored Bridgewater's game-winner off a corner, providing the final 3-2 tally.
EMU allowed 27 shot attempts, but more than held their own with 15 shots, including eight on goal. Price and Augsburger each had four.
The Royals head to Washington and Lee on Saturday, with game time at 12:00pm in Lexington, Va. The Generals are tied with Bridgewater for second place in the ODAC at 4-1.
Jackson said a lot of this season's growth was evident in the game against Bridgewater: