Harrisonburg, Va. - When you are picked seventh in the ODAC preseason poll, fighting for a top four seed and home playoff game seems like a solid goal. But to do that, it helps to knock off the other teams fighting for the same spot. Eastern Mennonite did just that Saturday, taking a 2-0 win at Hampden-Sydney, which was picked to finish fifth in the league.
The first half was intense, but stayed scoreless. The host Tigers put six shots on goal in the frame, but keeper Andrew Yoder (Harrisonburg, VA/Eastern Mennonite) was up to the task with six saves.
Yoder made two more saves early in the second before his teammates notched the first score of the game in the 68th minute. Joao Downs (Limon, Costa Rica/Cologio de Limon) hit net with an assist from Carl Becker (Vienna, VA/James Madison) to put EMU up 1-0.
Six minutes later, Hampden-Sydney nearly scored by getting a shot past Yoder. But Downs played his defensive role well, clearing the ball to preserve the lead. Then with 4:30 left to play, the Royals clinched the win when freshman Christian Rhine (Palmyra, PA/Palmyra) scored his second goal in as many games, getting an assist from Caleb Golladay (Mt. Jackson, VA/Stonewall Jackson).
Hampden-Sydney had a slight edge in shots in the game, but EMU's superior depth gave them the edge. Yoder finished with a career best 10 saves.
Juan Flores (Mt. Jackson, VA/Stonewall Jackson) topped the Royals with two shots on goal.
After the impressive win in their ODAC opener, the men are now 3-3-1 overall. They return home on Wednesday to host new ODAC rival Shenandoah in a 4:00pm game.