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Early Lead Evaporates for Bryn Mawr in Tough Loss to Mules

Kelly Bergman

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Owls field hockey team gave Muhlenberg a big scare in a Centennial Conference showdown earlier Wednesday night. Bryn Mawr jumped out to a quick lead in the contest and controlled play for a good portion of the game, looking for their first league win since 2013. Unfortunately, Muhlenberg managed to put a late charge together, getting just enough scoring to ultimately come away with a 4-1 win on the night. Kelly Bergman scored the goal that put Bryn Mawr ahead early. Meanwhile, Angela Meng made 10 saves for the Owls in the cage. Laura Holdman was the key player for the Mules, scoring twice to help the hosts secure the win.

After weathering a pair of early shots from the Mules in the opening minutes of tonight's contest, Bryn Mawr went on the attack themselves. Just over five minutes into the game, the Owls earned their first penalty corner of the night, and it was on that corner where Bryn Mawr would tally the opener. Lydia Fisher sent the ball in, and ultimately Kelly Bergman managed to redirect a shot into the back of the cage. That sparked a big celebration from the Owls, who found themselves with a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the contest. The goal is the first for Bryn Mawr against a Centennial Conference opponent since the second-to-last game of the 2014 season.

Muhlenberg immediately looked to respond to their early deficit with a flurry of shots and attacks on the Owls cage. Momentarily, Bryn Mawr fended off each effort and managed to hang on to their precious lead. However, the hosts finally found a seam in the defense, as a series of passes off of a penalty corner finally found Holdman alone in front for the equalizer. Despite giving up that game-tying goal, though, Bryn Mawr continued to play solid defense, and when the teams went into the halftime break it was still a 1-1 deadlock.

In what seems to have become an unfortunate theme so far in Bryn Mawr's losses this year, an Owls' opponent again managed to find a crucial goal minutes after coming back from the halftime break. This time, it was the Mules who benefitted from that pattern, as the hosts jumped out in front 2-1 thanks to a goal just over ten minutes into the second half. Bryn Mawr did a great job limiting chances in that time frame, but the one opportunity Muhlenberg finally got, they cashed in on. A long pass from outside the circle led to a great look for Rachel Richards, who scored her first goal of the season to put the hosts on top 2-1.

The Owls tried to mount a comeback to top Muhlenberg's comeback, getting another penalty corner in the 59th minute. That resulted in a shot by Sara Rilatt, but the freshman defender's effort was parried away at the last second by Mules goalkeeper Emma Rosenthal. Later, Mary Cugini would get another shot off after a penalty corner, but that effort was blocked in front by a Muhlenberg defender. Meanwhile, the hosts managed to tally two key insurance goals in the waning moments. Holdman scored her second goal of the night on a penalty stroke, and then Chloe Buergenthal made it a 4-1 win for Muhlenberg with the final goal in the 62nd minute of play.

Bryn Mawr continues to put on great performances against their Centennial Conference foes, and it always seems as if it's just a matter of time before the Owls break through in one of these contests. The team will get their next chance to do so this weekend when the Owls host McDaniel. The Green Terror come to campus with a 1-9 overall record and winless in league play. One of the two programs will get their first Centennial Conference victory of the year on Saturday, with gametime slated for 3:00 PM.