Field hockey: Late goal pushes EMU to best start since 2008

emu sportsSkylar Hedgepeth‘s (Smithfield, Va./Smithfield) late goal propelled EMU’s field hockey women to a 3-2 win over Frostburg State as well as their best start to a season in a decade.

The Royals have won three straight games to improve to 4-1, which is the team’s best opening since a 7-1 start in 2008.

Wednesday’s dramatic finish was bookended by a nearly as dramatic start when Hedgepeth stuck in a weakside pass just 2:04 into play. Rachel Breslin (Lititz, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) then put in a goal in the 13th minute, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.

Junior Hannah Nichols (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) assisted on the both of the early goals, each time using her speed to streak up the right side before sending the ball perfectly to the front of the cage.

But Frostburg State controlled much of the flow after that, firing 10 shots in each half.

Finally, in the 55th minute, the Bobcats got on the board on an Ashleigh Myers goal after a corner. They visitors tied it up at 2-2 when Molly Pickard tapped home a beautiful centering pass in the 64th minute.

Less than two minutes later, however, EMU got the advantage after a Frostburg State green card and two-minute penalty.

The decisive play started with Breslin hitting Lauren Hartzler (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) from a break up the right side. Hartzler sent a pass toward the cage, where Breslin’s presence crossed up FSU’s goalie. The ball carried past Breslin to the left side of the cage, where Hedgepeth made a quick redirection for the game-winner with just 3:40 left on the clock.

Eastern Mennonite’s defense held firm over the final minutes, frustrating the Bobcats into three contested shots, none of which were on goal.

Frostburg State finished with a 20-12 shot advantage, but EMU had an 8-5 edge in shots on goal. Kelsey Troyer (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) picked up three saves.

The Royals stay at home this Saturday, hosting Southern Virginia at 3:00pm.

EMU had originally been scheduled to host Juniata College, but the Eagles elected not to make the trip after having their game at Bridgewater on Friday cancelled.

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