ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team traveled up to New York earlier Monday for a big late-season non-conference clash. After the Owls handed Elmira College a stunning loss last year on Applebee Field, the Soaring Eagles were certainly out for a little payback today. However, Bryn Mawr was having nothing of it; the Owls used an early goal from Sara Rilatt to get out on top, and a solid possession game from the Bryn Mawr midfield made that 1-0 lead stand up the whole way through. Angela Meng made two crucial saves in the shutout victory, Bryn Mawr's fifth such win of the season.
Today's contest was bound to be a low-scoring affair from the start. The two sides played virtually the entire first quarter of the game without recording an offensive statistic. Despite not registering any shots or corners in that time period, however, Bryn Mawr was the team in control of the game. The Owls had most of the possession, and certainly spent much of the first fifteen minutes inside the attacking third of the field. That control of the game finally paid off, as Bryn Mawr broke through with a goal in the fifteenth minute of play. After a foul in the circle, Bryn Mawr earned their first penalty corner of the game. Lydia Fisher inserted the ball up top to a waiting Sara Rilatt. The freshman defender controlled the ball and let a shot rip from the top of the circle. The blast rocketed past the onrushing Elmira defenders, just out of the reach of goalkeeper Julia Hockenberger, and inside the left post for a beautiful goal. The tally was Rilatt's second of the season, and it was second assist of the year for Fisher.
Elmira immediately tried to put together a response to that opening goal, as the Soaring Eagles drove right down the field off of the restart and earned a penalty corner of their own. Emily Selbert let loose with a shot of her own on the ensuing play, but Meng was a brick wall in front of the Owls' cage, stopping the effort and kicking it out of harm. The hosts would get several more chances over the next ten minutes, but three of their shots were blocked on great defensive plays by the Owls, and Meng tallied another save to keep Bryn Mawr in front.
After weathering that storm from the Soaring Eagles, Bryn Mawr looked to build their lead with an insurance goal. The team earned two more penalty corners in the final minutes of the first half, but couldn't get a shot off on those efforts. In the second frame, Bryn Mawr tightened the screws even further, hardly ever giving up possession of the ball and constantly probing for a second goal in the attacking end. The Owls earned three more corners in the first seven minutes of the half, and they got two great looks at the cage on the latter two of those chances. On the second, Bryn Mawr worked the ball over to the stick of Grace Morris, who let a hard shot loose towards the cage. The shot appeared to be headed right inside the post for a second goal, but it kicked off a defender's foot and over the crossbar. On the next corner, Fisher got a shot of her own, but Hockenberger made another nice save to keep the shot out.
Each time Bryn Mawr seemed destined to get that all-important second goal, the ball would get stopped or blocked or kicked away at the last second. However, due to the dominance of the Owls in the second half, that second goal ultimately became meaningless. Bryn Mawr completely shut down the Soaring Eagles in the second frame; The Owls outshot the visitors five-nil and outcornered Elmira seven-zero in the second half in a truly impressive closing to the contest. Ultimately, that early goal from Rilatt was plenty, as the Owls came home with a 1-0 win on the day.
The victory was Bryn Mawr's sixth win of the year and moves them to 6-8 overall. That is the best win total for the Owls in a single season since 1998, Jenepher Shillingford's last year at the helm of the program. The blanking was also the fifth shutout of the 2017 campaign. A quick glance at the record book reveals that is the second-most shutout wins in a single season in Owls field hockey history.
Bryn Mawr will look to keep the winning ways going when they get back into conference play on Saturday. The Owls will travel to Lancaster this weekend for a game against Franklin & Marshall in their final road game of the season. That game is slated to start at 12:00 PM. The team will then return home next week for a contest against Haverford on Wednesday and a Homecoming tilt against Ursinus next Saturday.