For 87 minutes, it looked like EMU's soccer men would get their break-through win against a team picked as the ODAC's preseason favorite. But Washington and Lee used a pair of goals off corner kicks to steal a 2-1 decision in overtime, leaving Eastern Mennonite with a heart-breaking loss.
Despite proving they can play with the best in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, the Royals were left with no points towards the standings as they dropped to 2-3 in the conference. Instead of being in a three-way tie for fourth in ODAC, the loss slips EMU into a three-way tie for seventh. Washington and Lee improved to 3-2 in the league.
For the Royals (8-4), it was first loss at home this fall, as well as the first loss in three overtime contests. EMU won both of their previous OT games by 2-1 scores.
After a scoreless first half against the Generals (8-3-1), Eastern Mennonite made a quick attack after the intermission. Just 2:04 into the second, Dave Drafton (Alexandria, Va./Howard Gardner) streaked up the right side and sent a centering pass to David Shafer (Maitland, Fla./Bishop Moore Catholic). Shafer, the reigning ODAC Player of the Week, stopped it and fired in off the left post, putting EMU on top, 1-0.
In a thrilling start to the half, W&L had close range free kicks in the 55th and 59th minutes, but sent one high and the second into an EMU defender.
The Royals then nearly went up 2-0 a minute later. Juan Luna (Mount Jackson, Va./Stonewall Jackson) ripped a shot off the right post, which bounded out to Daniel Obour (Alexandria, Va./Mount Vernon) on the left side of the box. Obour's quick attempt went off the left post, leaving EMU with only the one-goal lead.
As time ticked away, Washington and Lee stepped up their pressure. Earning a corner in the 88th minute, Oliver Dolberg knocked in a header to equalize with just 2:14 left in regulation.
The momentum carried into overtime. Keeper Cody Martin (Martinsville, Va./Carlisle) made a diving save on a breakaway in the 96th, just skimming the shot off the post and out of bounds. The resulting corner became a near replay of W&L's first goal, again coming in from the right side and this time tipped in by Kevin Molnar for the game-winner.
Martin racked up a career high 15 saves, including two in overtime as the Generals had a 31-11 margin in shots.
Eastern Mennonite's men stay at home this weekend, hosting Randolph-Macon (11-1/4-1 ODAC) Saturday night at 7:00pm. The game is the primetime event of EMU's Centennial Homecoming and will be preceded by Parents Recognition.