HAVERFORD, Pa. - Back in 1998, a gallon of gas cost about $1.15, Google was just being founded, and you were probably wondering why Jack didn't just climb onto the floating piece of wood next to Rose at the end of Titanic. In the Bryn Mawr field hockey world, the Owls were helping send legendary head coach Jenepher Shillingford out in her final season with a win over Bi-Co rival Haverford. That would be the final win in the past 20 years for the Owls over the Fords, but that streak came to a glorious end earlier Wednesday afternoon in an epic clash on Swan Field at Haverford. The two teams traded blows for over 90 minutes, with neither side able to break through. The Owls finally prevailed in a thrilling penalty shootout, where goalkeeper Maggie Titus came up with three huge saves while three of Bryn Mawr's four shooters converted to hand the Owls the 1-0 win.
The two sides played an incredibly even first half, with Bryn Mawr outshooting the Fords 5-4 while Haverford held a slim 3-2 advantage in penalty corner opportunities. As the game entered the second half, however, Bryn Mawr started to assert their authority on the proceedings. The Owls outshot Haverford 4-1 in the second half, but it was the Fords who got the first chance of that period. Just under five minutes into the half, the Fords earned a penalty corner and ended up getting a shot off, but Titus stood tall and made a key stop. That closed the door on the lone Haverford chance of the second half, and then the Owls started to pepper the cage. Less than five minutes after that Haverford chance, Kelly Bergman got a shot off, but that was stopped by Fords goalkeeper Hannah Roth. Later, Sara Rilatt and Lydia Fisher each had shots go just wide. In the final six minutes of the half, Bryn Mawr continued to press their advantage, looking for that late game-winner. Their chance came off of a penalty corner, with Lydia Fisher getting another shot on goal. However, once again Roth made a big stop, and that sent the teams into overtime.
The Owls are certainly familiar with the pressures of playing in sudden-victory situations, with today's game being their fourth overtime contest of the season. That experience paid off big today, as the Owls pressed forward when they could and weathered Haverford attacks when they needed to. Bryn Mawr had the first good chance in overtime, earning a penalty corner just 1:35 into the first OT. They got a shot off on that opportunity, a hard blast from Sara Rilatt, but the Fords blocked that attempt and went the other way. From there, it was all Fords in the extra periods. Haverford got their first look in the 77th minute on a penalty corner of their own, but Titus continued to play rock-solid in the cage by stopping the resulting shot. Haverford got one more shot off with less than a minute to go in the first overtime, but Titus saved that one too. In the second overtime, Haverford continued to pin Bryn Mawr back in their own end, but the Owls did not lose their cool. The Fords earned two penalty corners in the opening four minutes of the second OT, and a lone shot on those opportunities went wide. A quick timeout from Owls head coach Victor Brady helped give Bryn Mawr a breather, but the Fords still maintained control. They would get one final chance with less than a minute to play in the game, and it was a good one. One final penalty corner led to a shot by the Fords' Paige Powell, but Titus was there once again, making a huge save and forcing the game into a penalty shootout.
Haverford ended up as the team shooting first in the shootout, and Casey Wakai was able to work the ball into the cage to put the hosts up 1-0. Bryn Mawr looked to answer via senior co-captain Emma Hicks, and she came up big with a perfectly executed penalty shot to make it 1-1 through the first pair. The pattern repeated on the second chance, as Haverford's Caroline Aronowitz tallied and then junior co-captain Mary Cugini responded with a great penalty shot of her own to make it 2-2. The first save of the penalty shootout would prove crucial for either side, and it was Bryn Mawr's Maggie Titus who pulled it off in round three. The first-year netminder made a fantastic stop on Haverford's Paige Powell, opening the door for Bryn Mawr to take their first "lead" in the shootout. That opportunity would fall to fellow first-year Bailey Turner. The Massachusetts native put together a great attempt, but the ball went just wide of the cage. However, there had been an infraction by the Fords goalkeeper, which gave Turner a penalty stroke as a result. She showed no signs of being afraid of the big moment, as she stepped up to the spot and absolutely blasted a shot high into the cage past Roth, putting the Owls ahead 3-2 after three rounds.
Titus once again came up big on Haverford's fourth chance, and suddenly the Owls could taste the win coming. Zaynah Moen had the first chance to put things away, but Roth answered with a big save of her own for the Fords, giving the hosts one more chance to extend the shootout. Leela Krishnan stepped up to take the shot, but this was Titus and the Owls' nights, and there was no way that ball was going to end up in the back of the cage. Fittingly, Bryn Mawr picked up the win on the back of one more big stop from their first-year goalkeeper, sparking a raucous celebration from all the Owls fans, coaching staff, and players.
The win ends a 20-year drought for Bryn Mawr against the Fords, dating back to that 1998 season. It also gives the Owls two Centennial Conference victories on the year, the first time they have accomplished that since 1998 as well. Perhaps most impressively, this is the first time Bryn Mawr has defeated both Haverford and Swarthmore, their Tri-Co partners, since at least 1982...if ever. The Owls' win today also knocks Haverford out of contention in the Centennial Conference playoff chase.
The Owls will look to keep the positive energy rolling as they head into their final game of the season on Saturday. Bryn Mawr will travel to Collegeville to take on the 19th-ranked Bears of Ursinus this weekend, with gametime set for 12:00 PM.