BRYN MAWR, Pa. - Today's Bryn Mawr field hockey contest against Johns Hopkins was one of the most anticipated matchups around the Centennial Conference, if not the region, and it certainly did not disappoint. The Owls came into the game with a 4-0 record, their best start to a season in Bryn Mawr field hockey history. Johns Hopkins brought an undefeated record of their own and a top 20 national ranking in the NFHCA poll as well into the day. Ultimately, the showdown played out just as it should have; both sides had several great chances, and the defense was equally as strong on both ends as well. Ultimately, despite controlling long stretches of play in the game, Bryn Mawr fell just a bit short in this one, as Johns Hopkins used two second-half goals to claim a 2-0 win.
Johns Hopkins had the first good chance of the day in this one, a shot just six minutes in that was headed on goal. However, getting her first career start in the cage, Owls goalkeeper Maggie Titus kept the pads together and stopped the shot. An ensuing Johns Hopkins penalty corner did not result in anything, and the Owls defense had weathered their first test with aplomb. That gave Bryn Mawr's offense room to operate, and the Owls slowly began to work up the pressure and test the Blue Jays defense. Just over ten minutes in, the Owls earned a penalty corner of their own, but were unable to get a shot off. Bryn Mawr kept the pressure up, constantly hampering Johns Hopkins' attempts to clear their end, and ultimately earning another penalty corner. However, once more Bryn Mawr was unable to get a shot off on the ensuing play.
Twenty-five minutes into the contest, the Owls once again turned the screws on the Johns Hopkins defenders. Bryn Mawr relentlessly worked their way into the offensive zone, ultimately earning a penalty corner. That effort sparked a chain of two more penalty corners, which saw the Owls get their first shot of the contest. Emma Hicks got the first look, but her effort was saved by Hopkins goalkeeper Jodie Baris. However, the rebound bounced tantalizingly inside the arc, and Kelly Bergman was able to get another shot off. Baris got to that one as well, but Bryn Mawr earned yet another penalty corner. This time, Grace Morris was the beneficiary, ripping a shot of her own on cage, but Baris stood tall and made yet another save. That five-minute stretch would be Bryn Mawr's best look at a goal in the first half, as it was Johns Hopkins who controlled the final few moments of the first half. However, their penalty corner and two shots were shut down by the Bryn Mawr defense, and the two teams went into the half deadlocked at 0-0.
In the second half, Johns Hopkins came out of the gate quickly, and that would be the key to the game. The Blue Jays earned a penalty corner just 54 seconds into the frame, but their ensuing shot was swatted off the line by an Owls defender. It was a momentary reprieve, though. Hopkins would earn another penalty corner just a couple of minutes later, and Katie McErlean would put the visitors on the board with a rocket from the top of the arc.
Johns Hopkins continued to have most of the offensive chances through the middle of the second half, and that eventually paid off with an insurance goal. In the 59th minute, the Blue Jays worked the ball inside the circle, where a mass of offensive and defensive players bunched up in front of the cage. Several Owls defenders tried to clear the ball away, and Titus dove down towards the ball to try and stop the danger as well. However, Michaela Corvi was able to get her stick to the ball first, and she lifted a shot over Titus and into the back of the cage to put Johns Hopkins up 2-0.
Bryn Mawr would get one final series of chances to try and get on the board late in the game. The Owls earned three penalty corners inside the final five minutes of play, but a lone shot from Mary Cugini went wide, and with that, Johns Hopkins held on for a hard-fought 2-0 win.
Today's margin is the closest this game has been in series history since 1999, a 1-3 Hopkins win, and it is the fewest goals Bryn Mawr has allowed to the Blue Jays since a 0-0 tie back in 1995. Today's effort is also tied for the best result against a nationally-ranked opponent in Bryn Mawr field hockey history, dating back to another 2-0 loss, this time to Franklin & Marshall in 2013. However, in that contest the Owls were outshot 28-6, where today's game was a much more even 10-4 affair in terms of shots.
Despite the final result, today's contest was certainly a notice to the rest of the Centennial Conference that Bryn Mawr field hockey is ready to bring it. The Owls will look to get back in the win column next week in their first league road trip of the year. Bryn Mawr will travel down to Chestertown on Thursday evening for a 7 PM game against the Shorewomen.