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.