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Field Hockey Staggers Moravian With Comeback Victory

Field Hockey Staggers Moravian With Comeback Victory

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Staring down the barrel of a tough loss on the road at Moravian earlier Tuesday night, the Bryn Mawr field hockey team showed some impressive resolve. Two Owls freshman paired up to create a late goal to tie the contest before Mary Cugini blasted home the game-winner just six minutes into the first overtime frame. Angela Meng came up with four saves at key moments throughout the game to help Bryn Mawr stay in striking distance. Meanwhile, the Owls offense was dominant throughout most of the contest, as Bryn Mawr peppered the Moravian side with 22 shots in the game. That effort made tonight the Owls' third time accumulating 20 or more shots in a game this season.

Moravian had the hotter start in tonight's contest, with two penalty corners in the opening four minutes, but Bryn Mawr was the team in control most of the way through. After weathering the early Greyhound attack, the Owls got their first crack at the cage in the ninth minute, when Cugini saw her shot saved by Ashley Kunsman. Bryn Mawr then earned three straight penalty corners, resulting in three shots for the Owls which were all blocked. The visitors continued to throw shot after shot on goal and rack up the penalty corners throughout the first half, but were unable to break through the stingy Moravian defense.

Meanwhile, just before the half ended, Moravian broke through on the counterattack. The Greyhounds earned a penalty corner of their own, and on the ensuing play the hosts put two shots on goal. Angela Meng stepped up bigtime to stop both of those efforts, but in the process of clearing the ball out, the Owls committed a foul that gave Moravian a penalty stroke. Olivia Schlofer stepped up to the penalty spot and managed to sneak a shot past Meng and into the cage, putting the Greyhounds up 1-0 just before the halftime break.

Bryn Mawr came into the second half even more determined to come out on top, and it showed even in the statistics. The Owls defense buckled down and didn't allow even a single shot to the Greyhounds in the second frame. Bryn Mawr kept the ball in the midfield or in Moravian's half almost the entire second period. The Owls poured shot after shot on cage, looking for the equalizer. Grace Morris saw a shot blocked, Cugini had a shot blocked, and Kelly Bergman and Lydia Fisher each had attempts saved by Kunsman. With time winding down under ten minutes to play, the Owls had thrown everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Moravian's cage, but still had nothing to show for their efforts.

Finally, with less than seven minutes to play in the game, Bryn Mawr's pressure paid off. Bryn Mawr earned their 12th penalty corner of the game, and Lydia Fisher stepped up to insert the ball. The sophomore fired a pass into play at the top of the circle, where Sara Rilatt eventually got on the end of it and blasted a shot towards the cage. In a mass of bodies in front of the goal, Kelly Bergman did a tremendous job of getting her stick on the shot and deflecting it past Kunsman and into the cage to tie things up at 1-1.

Neither team was able to finish out the contest in regular time with another goal. Bryn Mawr had three more shots saved by Kunsman, who put on an impressive 10-save performance of her own on the night. Ultimately, overtime was needed, and as the two sides opened the first minutes of the first extra frame, it appeared Moravian had regained their footing. The hosts got off a succession of shots in the first five minutes of play, including one that Meng was forced to make another big stop on to keep Bryn Mawr in the game. Then the Owls got their first opportunity of overtime, and as it turned out, one would be all they would need.

As the Owls transitioned deeper into the Moravian side, Bryn Mawr was able to force a foul by the hosts. With the Greyhounds looking to recover and regain their shape, Bryn Mawr pressed their advantage and got the ball onto the stick of Cugini. The sophomore knew exactly what to do with it, as she fired a shot from the right side past Kunsman and into the far side of the cage, sparking a walk-off celebration from the entire Bryn Mawr sideline.

Cugini's goal was her sixth of the season for Bryn Mawr, already a career high. With the win, the Owls move to 5-3 on the season, the first time Bryn Mawr has won five games since back-to-back five-win seasons in 2012 and 2013. The Owls will look to grab win number six next, a feat which has not been accomplished at Bryn Mawr since Jenepher Shillingford's final year at the helm of the Owls in 1998. The team will have their first crack at that milestone number when they get back in action this Friday. The Owls will travel to Gettysburg for another important Centennial Conference contest, with gametime slated for 3:30 PM at the Bullets' field.