COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team capped off their 2018 season with a thrilling faceoff at Ursinus College earlier Saturday afternoon. The Owls fell behind in the first half, but rallied in the second and ultimately tied the game back up thanks to a goal from co-captain Mary Cugini. Unfortunately, the 19th-ranked Bears managed to hang on by the slimmest of margins, finding a second goal in the second half to sneak out with a 2-1 win. Maggie Titus made four saves on the day for the Owls, who posted six shots on the day.
Ursinus got off to a strong start in today's contest, controlling play in the first half and keeping the Owls pinned in their own end. The Bears outshot Bryn Mawr 11-0 in the first half, and it was on the fifth of those shots that they would strike. The hosts worked the ball down the right side and passed it into the circle from just outside the top. Erin Saybolt got on the end of that feed, and she was able to control, then turn and fire a shot past Titus and into the bottom right side of the cage, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
However, despite not recording a shot in the half and having to play without the ball for much of the frame, the Owls defended with aplomb and kept Ursinus from tallying another goal in the frame. That sent the teams to the half with the Bears holding a slim 1-0 lead, and it gave Bryn Mawr a chance to regroup and adjust the gameplan with the intent to spark the offense in the second half.
That is exactly what ended up happening. Ursinus had a few good chances early on in the second half, but then Bryn Mawr got control of the ball and began to work their way down the field. Just over ten minutes into the frame, the Owls earned a penalty corner. Lydia Fisher inserted the ball, and ultimately the play resulted in a shot for Grace Morris. Her effort was blocked in front by an Ursinus defender, but Cugini was in the perfect spot for the rebound. She was able to get her stick out and poke the ball in from the crease, getting it past Ursinus goalkeeper Jules Singer and into the back of the cage to knot the game up at 1-1.
Unfortunately, that momentum for the Owls did not last long, as Ursinus regained their lead less than a minute later. The hosts went right back down the field off of the restart and were able to earn a penalty corner. On the ensuing play, the ball went to Saybolt, and she sent a cross to teammate Anna Hall. Hall blasted a shot that sneaked past Titus and into the back of the cage, putting Ursinus back on top 2-0 just 55 seconds after the Owls had tied the game.
The Bears continued to press for an insurance goal over the next five minutes, even earning a penalty stroke in the 53rd minute. However, Titus came up big in that stretch, saving the stroke attempt as well as another Bears shot and keeping the Owls within one. That defensive performance seemed to rally the Owls, as they worked their way back down the field and, over the next five minutes, began to pepper the Ursinus cage. Samantha Shaw was the first Owl to have a crack at the goal, but her shot was saved by Singer. On an ensuing penalty corner, Mary Cugini had a shot go just wide. A minute later, the Owls earned another penalty corner, but Cugini's shot was blocked, and then a minute after that, on another penalty corner, Grace Morris had a shot of her own blocked.
All of the Owls' pressure forced Ursinus into taking a desperation timeout to try and slow Bryn Mawr down. Unfortunately for the Owls, that plan seemed to work to perfection. The Bears were able to reorganize during that stoppage and, over the final ten minutes of the game, deny Bryn Mawr any further scoring opportunities. The Owls put in a kicking back with under three minutes to go, looking for the extra attacker to help spark one last offensive chance. That did not pan out, and ultimately the Bears were able to escape with the 2-1 win.
That result closes the book on one of the most impressive Bryn Mawr field hockey seasons in program history. The Owls end the season with nine wins, their most in a season since 1996. Almost all of their conference games were close battles, with seven of the ten being determined by a single goal. Bryn Mawr graduates three seniors, but will continue to work hard throughout the rest of the year and look to build upon this season with an even more successful performance in 2019.