ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team opened their 2016 season earlier Thursday afternoon on the road at Cedar Crest. Despite suffering a close 2-0 loss to the Falcons, there were still plenty of positives to be found in the result for the Owls. Bryn Mawr doubled both their shots on goal and penalty corner totals from the entire 2015 season in just the one game today. Haley Newsham led the Owls with four shots in the affair while Mary Cugini added three and Holly Senebandith chipped in one. Meanwhile, Angela Meng picked up right where she left off with a strong performance in the cage for Bryn Mawr, making three saves on five shots faced on the day.
Bryn Mawr jumped right out of the gates with some strong offensive possession in the opening minutes, and it paid off. The Owls earned a penalty corner just 1:43 into the game. Emma Hicks executed a perfect insertion, leading to the first shot of the season for the Owls off the stick of Cugini. However, Cedar Crest's Emma Ryan, who proved to be a strong force for the Falcons all night, made the save.
Just a few minutes later, it was Cedar Crest's turn to put some pressure on the Owls defense with a corner of their own, and it paid off. The hosts ran their corner play to perfection, with Rachel Betchel making a great pass into the circle. From there, the Falcons got the ball onto the stick of Elizabeth Lamm, who was able to fire a shot past Meng and into the cage to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Owls did a great job of trying to answer right back after giving up that early goal, however. Over the ensuing three minutes, Bryn Mawr earned three penalty corners. The Owls only got one shot out of those efforts however, and that attempt by Haley Newsham was blocked. Play continued to swing back and forth for both sides throughout the rest of the first half, but Cedar Crest finally broke through with an insurance goal later in the frame. This time it was McKenna Hunt taking a pass from Samantha VanBeers and slotting the ball past Meng to make it a 2-0 game.
The second half was a similar story as the first, as both sides swapped chances, but with the defenses being the major showcase. The Owls did a great job of weathering three early penalty corners in the opening five minutes of the frame. That strong defense spurred the Owls onto a good offensive chance, but once again Cugini's shot was saved by Ryan. Perhaps the Owls best chance came just before the final whistle on one last penalty corner. Hicks made another good pass into the circle and the Owls set up their play. This time it was Newsham taking the shot, but Ryan stuck out the pad one last time, just barely getting a piece and preserving the shutout win for the Falcons.
The Owls will be right back in action this weekend with Bryn Mawr returning to Applebee Field for their home opener. It will be Virginia Wesleyan coming to campus on Sunday for the first ever meeting between these two programs. Game time on Sunday is slated for 2:30 PM.