AURORA, N.Y. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team found themselves in another tight contest earlier Saturday afternoon, this time on the road in New York. The Owls were down one with just a few dozen seconds left when senior captain Haley Newsham stepped up big for the visitors. Newsham tallied a game-tying shot with less than a minute to play in the contest, giving Bryn Mawr new life and sending the game into another thrilling 40 minutes or so of play. Unfortunately, when all was said and done, Wells hung on in penalty strokes to claim a 3-2 victory on the day.
Bryn Mawr (0-5) started the game on the right foot, with some good physical defending and the first shot of the contest, off the stick of senior Holly Senebandith. However, Wells (2-5) would tally the first goal of the game against the run of play. Kelly Mason carried the ball into the circle and was able to fire a low shot past Bryn Mawr goalkeeper Angela Meng and into the cage to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Owls did a great job battling after that early setback. In fact, Bryn Mawr outshot and outcornered the Express in the opening half. Despite that, Wells was able to escape to halftime with a 1-0 lead. However, Bryn Mawr kept pouring it on early into the second half, and all of that pressure finally paid off for the Owls in the 43rd minute. After some strong pressure inside the circle, the ball squirted straight to senior Cassandra Garcia-Bacha. She was able to control the ball and fire a shot through Wells' Kelsey Kokosa and into the cage to tie things up at 1-1.
Both teams battled back and forth over the next dozen minutes looking for the go-ahead goal, but it was Wells who finally broke through just 12 minutes later to retake the lead. This time it came off of a penalty corner, as Shianne Stokes was able to send a pass to the stick of Kate Wells, who scored from the right post to put the hosts ahead 2-1.
Bryn Mawr pressed as hard as they could over the remaining fifteen minutes, looking desperately for the tying goal. After a dominating stretch where the Owls earned three penalty corners and saw two shots saved or go wide, the were left with less than a minute to go in the game. However, that turned out to be all they needed, and it was Newsham with the heart-stopping effort to tie things up. The senior carried the ball into the circle and was able to get a shot off. It took a great deflection for the Owls, off of a defender and into the cage just inside the right post, tying the back-and-forth affair back up at 2-2.
With regular time ending following that goal, the donnybrook continued into overtime. Wells controlled the early part of the first overtime frame, but Bryn Mawr fought back and earned their own chances too. Things stayed tied into the second overtime, where the Owls controlled play and asserted their dominance on the game while looking for the win. Bryn Mawr earned two corners and took three shots in the frame, with perhaps the best effort coming with under a minute to go once again. In almost an exact replay of the game-tying goal earlier, Newsham got a great look at the cage with just 51 seconds left. However, this time there was no deflection, and Wells' Kokosa was able to make a save and send the game into penalty strokes.
Bryn Mawr got the first crack at things in the penalty frame, but Lydia Fisher was unable to convert. Wells took advantage of that opening, scoring on their first attempt. Samantha Heyrich and Haley Newsham were also unable to get their efforts past Kokosa, while the Express converted one of their next two chances. That left the game hanging on the balance of the stick of Holly Senebandith. The senior wouldn't waste her chance, using great skill to get around Kokosa and fire home, extending the penalty strokes further. However, Wells ended the game in the very next attempt, with Shianne Stokes getting the game-winning goal past Meng to win the penalty strokes 3-1.
The Owls continue to trend in the right direction to open 2016, and they'll look to keep that momentum rolling when they get back in action next week. Bryn Mawr will open Centennial Conference play with a midweek contest, and it comes against one of the giants of the field hockey world. The Owls will look to play spoiler when they welcome Ursinus to campus on Wednesday afternoon. Ursinus currently sits fourth in the NFHCA coaches poll and are 4-1 so far this season. Wednesday's game is slated to kick off at 4:30 PM.