Freshman Hannah York (Richmond, Va./John Randolph Tucker) scored her first career goal in the 94th minute to give EMU's soccer women an impressive win over Catholic Tuesday night in Harrisonburg, 2-1.
The gritty overtime victory will likely go down as one of the Royals' biggest wins of the season, spring boarding them into the upcoming ODAC schedule. Eastern Mennonite improves to 2-2-0, while Catholic suffered their first loss and fell to 4-1-2.
The Royals showed no rust in the contest, despite it being their first actual game in nearly two weeks. Laura Rittenhouse (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) made a quick strike just 2:24 into play to get the women on the board first, striking in a breakaway shot from the top of the box.
Catholic charged back right away, using their speed and physicality to control much of the possession. An EMU foul at midfield turned into a quick goal from Elizabeth Johnson off the free kick as the Cardinals equalized in the 29th minute.
From there, the Royals matched CUA's style of play and frustrated a high-powered attack that had already produced a five- and six-goal game earlier in the season.
The Cardinals made a strong push just minutes into the second half, missing on two good looks. The first bounced off the left post and another just cleared the crossbar. But still, led by center defender Megan Breidigan (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone), EMU's back line held firm.
The Royals earned overtime and then made a strike back after CUA's 16th corner kick of the game early in the 94th minute. After the defense thwarted yet another Catholic attempt, York grabbed possession in the defensive third and made a quick push up ahead with Rittenhouse on a counterattack.
After the two passed back-and-forth, York had the ball knocked away by a Cardinal defender. She quickly regained possession, however, and fired from the left side at close range to earn the game-winner down off the crossbar 3:33 into extra time.
Catholic finished with a 29-7 advantage in shots and 16-0 edge in corners, but keeper Leah Wenger (Harrisonburg, Va./Eastern Mennonite) made a number of nice stops en route to a season-high nine saves. Rittenhouse led the team with three shots while Chloe Weaver (Linville, Va./Broadway) added two.
Rittenhouse's goal was the 17th of her career, moving the junior forward into a tie with Audra Baker for fifth on the EMU Career Goals list.
EMU hits the road to open ODAC play on Saturday, playing at Guilford College at 2:00pm.