The EMU field hockey women scored first but couldn't hold on against a quality Juniata team Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg. Juniata scored the game-winner on a stroke in overtime, sending the Royals to a 2-1 loss.
It was an impressive effort for Eastern Mennonite that should give them some momentum despite the check in the loss column.
Even though they were out-shot 5-0 over the opening 15 minutes, the Royals were the first team on the scoreboard in the second quarter. In the 27th minute, senior Madeline Mast (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) pushed across midfield and slotted a pass to a wide-open Lauren Hartzler (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) making a run on the right side. Hartzler moved into the circle and pounded a shot back to the left of the JC goalie, making it 1-0.
The lead held until late in the third, when the Eagles struck a flurry and Sara Deetz hit a putback in the 40th minute. Juniata kept up the pressure, but goalie Ann Ghally (Aldie, Va./John Champe) kept making stops, aided by defensive saves from Rachel Breslin (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) and Brandy Troutman (Mountville, Pa./Hempfield).
Finally in OT, the Eagles earned a stroke and Grace Kuszmaul hit the lower right of the cage to decide the game in the 66th minute.
The Royals were out-shot 21-8. Ghally made seven saves, while Troutman had two defensive saves and Breslin one.
Hartzler had half of EMU attempts and put them of them on goal.
EMU will get a chance to improve their 2-3 record on Wednesday when they head to Southern Virginia for a 6:00pm game. It will be the first home game in program history for an SVU team in their first varsity season.
The Royals also welcome in a number of program alumni for Saturday's Alumni Day. Former plays played in a game preceding the EMU/JC game, and were then recognized on the field at halftime of the game. Also in attendance were former coaches Sandy Brownscombe and Brenda Bechler, the longest tenured mentors in the program's 49 years. The two have combined for 26 years of coaching and 273 wins.