BRYN MAWR, Pa. – The Owls soccer squad was back in action at home earlier Wednesday afternoon as Bryn Mawr continued their seven-game homestand with a non-conference matchup against Penn State Harrisburg. The two teams played a very even contest in a rainy first half of action, but the Nittany Lions came out on fire in the second half, scoring three quick goals in the final frame to ultimately clinch a 3-0 win on Applebee Field. Junior goalkeeper Emma Ryan made five strong saves in the net for Bryn Mawr on the day.
The back-and-forth affair started with Bryn Mawr controlling most of the action early. Paige Mastripolito and Amanda Cruz each had shot opportunities in the first ten minutes of play, but both efforts went just wide left of the goal. Penn State Harrisburg responded with a couple shots of their own in the next few minutes, but those efforts also went wide left of the Owls cage. The game evolved into a midfield battle over the rest of the half, with a couple chances for each side. The Owls had a shot go just high off the foot of Sarah Lohrey, and then in the middle of the half, Isabelle Kuszyk forced the Nittany Lions goalkeeper into a save with a solid shot on goal. Bryn Mawr would get a few more opportunities late in the half, with Daniela Dosen having two cracks at the goal in the final five minutes of the frame. Unfortunately for the Owls, the first of those efforts went just wide right of the goal while the second was blocked at the last second by the Harrisburg defense. That closed out the chances in the first half as the game stayed scoreless heading into the halftime break.
Unfortunately for Bryn Mawr, that halftime break proved to be the turning point in the contest. Bryn Mawr had controlled most of the play in the first half, but Penn State Harrisburg turned things around and had most of the chances in the second. The Nittany Lions were able to break the scoreless action less than five minutes into the second half, scoring on a driven shot from the top of the box into the upper left corner of the goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Bryn Mawr tried to generate an immediate response, as Paige Mastripolito had a shot blocked just seconds after the restart. That led to an Owls corner kick where Carly Penn sent in a great cross. After the ball bounced around in the box for a bit, it landed back at the feet of Penn. The first-year ripped a shot towards the goal, but it went just wide and Harrisburg was able to clear the threat.
The visitors continued to build pressure over the next several minutes and were able to find a couple insurance goals by the midway point of the second half. The first of those came off of a turnover in the Bryn Mawr defensive end, with the Nittany Lions able to get a ball low in the box for a centering ball across the goal mouth that found an attacker all alone in front of the goal. Harrisburg then nabbed their third off of a free kick from the midfield, as a defender sent a ball into the middle of the penalty area that ultimately landed perfectly for a Nittany Lions attacker right at the top of the goal box. With those strikes, Penn State Harrisburg claimed the 3-0 advantage with 30 minutes to play in the game.
Bryn Mawr did their best to battle back in that final half hour of action. Lohrey sent another dangerous corner kick into the mix a few minutes after Harrisburg's third goal that saw Carly Penn get another shot opportunity, but that went wide. A few minutes later, Lohrey had perhaps the best look at goal for the Owls in the second half, but her blast from distance went just wide of the goal. Later on in the half, both Lohrey and Mastripolito got shots off, but Nittany Lions goalkeeper Sydney Mulka stood strong to make comfortable saves and preserve the shutout. The Owls were unable to get much else going in the final ten minutes of play, and Penn State Harrisburg was ultimately able to hold on for the 3-0 win on the afternoon.
After a busy first week of the season, the Owls will now get a bit of a breather and a chance to recover. Bryn Mawr will have the upcoming weekend off before getting back in action at home on Tuesday, as they will welcome Catholic University to campus for another home non-conference test.