EMU Women Secure ODAC Spot, Play At VWU

Liz Huffman tallied her third game-winner of the season, helping the Royals advance to the ODAC Tournament. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Liz Huffman tallied her third game-winner of the season, helping the Royals advance to the ODAC Tournament. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's soccer women controlled the play for the majority of its matchup against Guilford College on Saturday. The Royals eventually broke through with a tally in the 86th minute, winning 1-0 on Saturday against the Quakers and clinching a spot in the ODAC Tournament.

At 5-5, Eastern Mennonite tied with Shenandoah for seventh in the league standings. SU won the tiebreaker between the two, sending the Royals to top-seeded Virginia Wesleyan (9-1) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday with a start time of 7:00pm. The Marlins won the regular season meeting by a 3-0 final in Harrisonburg just this past Wednesday.

EMU's five conference wins are the most for the program since finishing 5-7 in 2013. It's also their first .500 league finish since a 5-5-1 record in 2010.

The women dominated Guilford in shots holding a 17-9 advantage, nine of which were on goal. EMU and GC drew in corner kicks, totaling four a piece. 

Sophomore midfielder Ariel Barbosa (Baltimore Md./Towson), freshman midfielder Rachel Sauder (Lyndhurst, Va./Stuarts Draft), and sophomore defender Kylie Paul (Hellertown, Pa./Saucon Valley) led the team with three shots each, respectively, with the trio combining for four shots on goal for the Royals. 

With overtime looming, the Royals found momentum after a near corner kick conversion. Paul sent a great ball into the box right in front of GC's goalkeeper to sophomore Laura Rittenhouse (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite), however the ball was cleared out of the box quickly. The Quakers nearly got into their offensive territory until sophomore Shaylla Oswald (Broadway, Va./Broadway) intervened and regained possession for EMU.

Oswald controlled the ball up the left wing and eventually found Sauder just outside of the box. On a 3v3 break, Sauder played the ball just in front of the cage to draw the keeper out of position so she could set freshman midfielder Liz Huffman (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg Area) up for an opportunity to convert. Huffman wasted no time and immediately sent the ball to the back of the net to give the Royals the 1-0 lead.

The remaining four minutes were not enough for the Quakers to push the game to overtime, giving the Royals a spot in the tournament. 

Sophomore Leah Wenger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) played the full 90 minutes and totaled five saves.

The eight-team ODAC Tournament kicks off with all four quarterfinal games on Wednesday. The semifinals and championship will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Click here to see the interactive bracket for the 2017 ODAC Women's Soccer Tournament.