For a team lacking in offensive consistency, Lynchburg found it Wednesday night. Senior Ryan Renfro scored the first two goals of his year to push the Hornets to a 2-1 upset of the second-seeded Royals.
LC made a postseason run last year to the NCAA National Championship game, but entered the ODAC Semifinal against Eastern Mennonite with just 14 goals in 18 games. Although shots were mostly even, EMU couldn't stop Renfro and suffered a disappointing end to a great season.
The Hornets lived up to their defensive reputation early on and neither team had much for offensive looks. LC, which had a couple of early shots blocked, broke through 15:32 into the game when Renfro worked his way past the defense and hit the net from close range to give the underdogs the lead.
With the advantage, the Hornets proceeded to pack it in on defense and EMU had to work even harder for its chances. Kevin Chico (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) had the best first-half look for the men in the final minute of the period. After a deflected corner kick, Chico got the ball back and dribbled in, but his shot from the right side skimmed past the face of the goal.
In the 65th minute, the Royals finally broke through. Mark Mast (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) found Philip Yoder (Keezletown, VA/Spotswood), whose shot deflected off the crossbar and in, gaining the equalizer.
But the Hornets had a quick answer, getting Renfro's second goal of the game and season on a 4-on-2 breakaway just 2:29 later.
The chances continued to come but the Royals couldn't score again. In the 70th minute, forward Mitchell Leap (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) was taken down just outside the box, but Chico's resulting free kick from 20 yards out sailed high.
Brendan Jeschke (Vienna, VA/James Madison) fired a close range cross in the 77th minute, but LC's keeper picked it off. EMU earned a corner with four minutes left, but the Hornets cleared it.
With just over two minutes left on the clock, the men had another fantastic look inside the box. Chico touched a ball to Leap, but the forward couldn't redirect it and it rolled harmlessly to LC's keeper for the final save of the game.
The Royals had a slight 11-10 edge in shots, including 3-2 on goal. The men also had a 5-1 advantage in corners.
The loss ends Eastern Mennonite's year at 10-8-2. The Royals were also 7-2-1 in the ODAC during the season, which tied them for most conference wins in program history.
It was the final game for a number of seniors: Leap, Chico, Yoder, Bryce Shank (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite), Brent Yoder (Sarasota, FL/Sarasota Christian), Muoka Musau (Ashburn, VA/Stone Bridge) and Patrick Fox (Virginia Beach, VA/Kempsville). Leap also leaves as one of the top scorers in school history, as he is fourth all-time with 35 goals and fifth all-time with 80 total points.