The Royals showed premier defense in limiting the nation's top-ranked team Saturday night on the road. EMU's soccer men were within one counter-attack of tying up No. 1 Messiah until a late goal provided the final 2-0 deficit.
Eastern Mennonite slips to 2-3-1 with the loss, while Messiah stays undefeated at 5-0-1.
The men held the Falcons to their lowest scoring output of the season. Messiah came into the game averaging 3.6 goals per contest.
EMU faced 13 shots in each half, but the back line, centered by Emmanuel Boamah (Alexandria, Va./West Potomac) and Matthew Zimmerman (Partlow, Va./Spotsylvania), came up big play after play to keep most of the attempts off target.
The Falcons broke through in the 53rd minute, when David Alejos tapped in a cross. It was just MC's third shot on goal out of their first 17 shots. With 10 minutes left to play, Nick West rifled a goal from outside the box to give Messiah a little breathing room.
Eastern Mennonite did not fade, however, and came close to cutting the margin in half a minute later, but Austen Smith's (Virginia Beach, Va./Floyd E. Kellam) line drive was snagged by MC's keeper.
Messiah finished with a 26-4 advantage in shots. Emmanuel Kampanga (Kinshasa, Congo/American School) made five saves to help keep the score close.
EMU opens ODAC play this week, heading to Ferrum College (4-1) Wednesday night at 6:00pm. This is the first conference meeting between the two sides, with Ferrum joining the Old Dominion Athletic Conference over the summer. It is the ODAC opener for both teams.