BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team was back on the turf on Wednesday afternoon for what turned out to be another hotly contested Centennial Conference showdown. The Owls fell behind early to visiting Muhlenberg, but stayed in the game and continued to battle deep into the second half. Their perseverance was rewarded with less than ten minutes to play, as Mary Cugini scored a game-tying goal on a penalty corner. Unfortunately, Muhlenberg took a timeout and then found another gear in that final ten minutes, ultimately scoring the game-winning goal on a penalty stroke with less than five minutes to go in the game. Maggie Titus made five saves in the cage for the Owls in another strong defensive performance, while Muhlenberg's Jordan Segrave made two solid saves of her own.
The visitors got out in front early on a goal less than four minutes into the game. On a penalty corner, the Mules got a shot off, but Titus was in perfect position to save the effort. However, the rebound was collected by Marlee Siegel, and she fired a shot from down low on the right side into the cage to put Muhlenberg up 1-0 early. The Mules continued to press and probe, with their team shape causing plenty of Owls turnovers and some confusion in the midfield. Muhlenberg would get a few more chances in the opening ten minutes, but Titus and the Owls defense locked things down and kept Bryn Mawr in the game. The Owls continued to chip away, looking for chances to work the ball upfield, and they were rewarded with their first offensive looks 25 minutes into the contest. Kelly Bergman got the Owls' first shot, but that effort was blocked. However, that led to an Owls penalty corner. This time, Mary Cugini got the shot as a result of the set play, but her shot was also blocked. That proved to be the final offensive chance for either team, and the sides headed to halftime with Muhlenberg still leading 1-0.
The second half started with Muhlenberg pressing for an all-important insurance goal. The Mules earned several penalty corners and tallied a bunch of shots in the first 20 minutes of the half, but they simply could not get anything past the Owls impervious defenses. Meanwhile, Bryn Mawr began to start some attacks of their own to try and tie the game up. The Owls had a very good chance midway though the half, as they earned a penalty stroke after a foul inside the circle. However, Muhlenberg's Segrave made a fantastic save, keeping Bryn Mawr off the board. Still, the Owls continued to press, and their magical moment came with just under ten minutes to play. The Owls earned a key penalty corner, and Ryan McManus slotted the ball into play. Eventually, Sara Rilatt took possession near the top and started to drive in towards the goal. Playing through some contact and several defenders, Rilatt fired a pass to her left, where Mary Cugini had all kinds of space in the center of the arc. The Owls' junior co-captain knew exactly what to do with it, firing a hard line-drive shot into the netting of the cage and setting off a wild celebration on the field.
Unfortunately, it simply wasn't to be on this day for the Owls. Muhlenberg took a quick timeout following Bryn Mawr's goal, and then the visitors went on to control the final ten minutes of play. They earned several penalty corners and shots, and finally the pressure paid off with a penalty stroke opportunity of their own. Jessica Oxer stepped up to take the opportunity, and she fired a fantastic stroke high and left of Titus and into the netting, giving Muhlenberg a 2-1 advantage. Bryn Mawr tried to build up one last response, even inserting a kicking back for the goalkeeper in order to get an extra attacker. However, the Owls were held without a shot in the final minutes, and ultimately had to settle for another one-goal league loss.
The final scores aren't going Bryn Mawr's way, but the effort and intensity is certainly there, and it seems to be only a matter of time before the Owls pick off some Centennial Conference opponents. They'll get their next chance this Saturday when they travel over to Westminster, Maryland. There, Bryn Mawr will face off against McDaniel, with game time set for 6:00 PM.