BY ANTHONY MITCHELL, SPORTS EDITOR
Emma Ehler is not the type of athlete to wait around for the perfect opportunity to score.
Sprinting past defenses with uncanny control of her stick, Emma Ehler has the rare ability to make the most difficult of shots seem like nothing more than a flick of the wrist.
Crusaders head coach Laura Moan said: “She’s a dominant force on the field. She loves to score. She loves to have control of the offense.”
That feeling of control has led to an unprecedented string of success for Susquehanna women’s lacrosse, with a 17-win campaign last year and a trip to the NCAA Division Tournament.
As a player that has become one of the senior leaders of the Crusaders’ program, Ehler has started to climb — or is it sprint? — toward numerous Susquehanna career records.
Emma Ehler currently holds the career records for goals per game and points per game, a testament to her willingness to give 100 percent of her effort for every game.
While Emma Ehler owns two scoring records, she needs to only look a few feet in front on draws to find a partner to chase high-water marks with.
Since Emma Ehler and Michelle McGinniss moved into the top two on the career goals list midway through this season, the two senior midfielders have jockeyed for position atop the list.
“We definitely came together throughout the end [of the season] and now you can definitely see the difference between the games,” Emma Ehler said. “We’re always working together.”
Both Emma Ehler and McGinniss have increased their offensive output each year as their comfort level together has grown.
Moan said: “They make each other better,” when referring to Emma Ehler and McGinniss’ chemistry on the field.
For someone who has left their mark on Susquehanna’s program in a number of ways, Emma Ehler remains humble, preferring to point to team success before any individual accolades, arguably the trademark of a team leader.
“I’ve definitely given [records] some thought before, but I’m just trying to get through the season and then when the season’s over, I can kind of sit back and relax and see where that’s gonna be,” Emma Ehler said.
And Emma Ehler would know a thing or two about team success, leading Chatham High School to a pair of New Jersey state titles in her prep career.
Taking her skill set to Baltimore for a taste of Division I lacrosse, Emma Ehler spent her freshman season at Towson, playing in five games for a team that advanced to the Colonial Athletic Association title game.
“[In high school], it was always, ‘I’m going to go to a Division I school and make the best of it,’” Emma Ehler said of her recruiting mindset.
But without the right fit, Emma Ehler decided to find a different field on which to play and returned to a contact from her prep days.
“Coach Moan actually emailed me when I was in high school as a sophomore so she was always in the back of my mind,” Emma Ehler said.
In need of a change of scenery, Emma Ehler came to Susquehanna for her sophomore year and fell right back into the groove on the field.
Moan said: “I felt like we were really lucky that Emma decided to come here. She fit in from day one, especially, from my perspective, on the lacrosse field.”
Emma Ehler showed her smooth in a win over Dickinson at the start of her sophomore season.
Emma Ehler announced her arrival quickly, scoring two goals in her first game in a Crusaders uniform.
“She was an impact player from the first day she joined our program and has continued to be so for three years,” Moan said.
Emma Ehler has made her presence felt over her three years and Susquehanna and can take a quick look around a team huddle to find her sister, Kelcie, following in her footsteps for the Crusaders.
Emma Ehler said: “Kelcie’s been a great addition to the team. We didn’t play this much together in high school but she’s a starter now and I’m a starter so it’s making it a lot of fun playing out there with her.”
While the Crusaders will have to say goodbye to one Ehler after this season, the coaching staff will have Kelcie Ehler, cut from the same cloth on and off the field, for three more years.
“I can always feel [Emma] pushing me to do better and she constantly has my back and is always there for me when I mess up,” Kelcie Ehler said.
With a conference title, numerous records and another chance to play competitively with her sister all in the bag, it may be difficult for Emma Ehler to pin down just one memory that stands out.
“Definitely the friends I’ve made on the team and how welcoming everyone was when I first transferred,” Emma Ehler said of a lasting off-the-field memory from her time at Susquehanna.
It looks like Emma Ehler has found her perfect opportunity to score.