EMU's field hockey women started off Homecoming Weekend with a tight non-conference game against St. Mary's Friday night. Despite winning the second half, the Royals couldn't make up the halftime deficit in taking a 2-1 loss.
The women (6-7) stay at home on Monday to wrap up their four-game homestand, hosting ODAC power Lynchburg at 6:00pm.
St. Mary's (6-5) struck early, getting a surprise goal from Mollie Belson in the eighth minute. Belson knocked a shot from the top of the circle and the traffic in front of the cage was enough to block the view of goalie Kelsey Troyer (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) , allowing the ball to trickle in.
The Seahawks made it 2-0 on a goal from Gabrielle Corder after a corner in the 14th minute.
EMU regrouped at the intermission and fought even with their visitors over the final 35 minutes. They finally hit the cage in the 44th minute after a corner. Lauren Hartzler (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) had an attempt saved, but Madeline Mast (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) picked up the rebound at close range and stuck the ball into the right side to cut SMC's lead in half.
With 15 minutes left, Kayla Maret (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River) appeared to tie the game when she hit the cage on a long shot, but the official waved it off as she fired ball just an inch outside of the circle.
That turned out to be the Royals' best remaining chance. An SMC green card in the 68th minute gave the women a chance, but the Seahawks wasted much of the time away by earning a corner.
Shots were limited in the back-and-forth game, with St. Mary's holding a 13-5 edge. Shots on goal were tighter at 4-3, in favor of the visitors. Troyer made one save while Brandy Troutman (Mountville, Va./Hempfield) added a defensive save.
Troyer is a four-year starter in the cage who recently broke the EMU Career Saves record. Including her 121 saves this season, which is eighth in the nation, Troyer holds 462 saves over her four seasons.
Burkhardt played 32 games over her first two years at EMU, scoring a career high four goals in 2016. After missing last season, Burkhardt has again been a valuable member to the team this year despite an early season injury.