GETTYSBURG, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr field hockey team played another match for the history books earlier Friday afternoon. The Owls traveled to central PA to take on Gettysburg, a team Bryn Mawr has never beaten in recorded history. That all changed today, as Bryn Mawr came back from a deficit twice in the contest before Mary Cugini found a winner for the Owls with less than a minute to play in the second overtime period of the day. Kelly Bergman recorded the first two goals of the afternoon, and Maggie Titus put on a spectacular display in goal for the Owls to help give Bryn Mawr a chance to come up with the win.
The first two periods of action were largely controlled by the hosts, as Gettysburg outshot the Owls 7-1 through two quarters. The Bullets also racked up six penalty corners in the first two periods, but Titus and the rest of the Bryn Mawr defense held strong and sent the teams into halftime knotted at 0-0. The second half was where the action really heated up. After dominating for much of the game, Gettysburg was finally rewarded for their pressure, scoring the opener off of a penalty corner just four minutes into the third quarter.
However, that goal seemed to spark a wakeup in the Owls, as Bryn Mawr answered less than two minutes later. Right off of the restart, the Owls worked the ball methodically down the field, ultimately leading to a shot from Mary Cugini that went just wide. However, Bryn Mawr earned their first penalty corner of the game just a few seconds later, and it was on that opportunity that they would knot things back up. Lydia Fisher inserted the ball to the top of the circle where Sara Rilatt received and took a few steps in towards goal. There, she fired a rocket of a shot towards the right post, where Kelly Bergman was waiting. The fellow Owls junior had her stick perfectly positioned along the ground, and she redirected the shot past the last defender and into the center of the cage to make it a 1-1 game.
Unfortunately, just four minutes later, the Bullets would strike again to go back on top. Bryn Mawr was in the midst of a possession in the offensive end, but a turnover gave the Bullets a counterattacking opportunity, and they were able to fly down the field with numbers. Carrying the ball down the right side and into the circle, Henna Fraiman put a shot on goal that Titus stopped. However, Julia Soares was waiting right in front of the cage, and she was able to pounce on the loose ball and put it in the back of the net to put the hosts up 2-1.
Bergman was able to get a shot off for the Owls early in the fourth quarter as Bryn Mawr looked for another equalizer, but Gettysburg continued to control most of the action. However, with just under ten minutes to play, the Owls were able to work the ball back downfield. Bringing the ball down the right side, the Owls earned a stoppage for a minor foul, and Kelcie Eberharth got things restarted quickly. She continued to press down the right side, then made a pass down the sideline to Paige Davis all the way in the right corner. The first-year controlled her reception, then played a beautiful pass all the way into the center of the circle. There, Bergman had found some space all alone in front of the cage, and she quickly spun and one-timed the shot past Gettysburg's goaltender and into the back of the net, tying the game back up at 2-2.
Looking to capitalize on the momentum from that goal, the Owls tried to jump out in front just a minute later. A rare penalty corner gave Mary Cugini a good look at the cage, but Jillian Caputo was able to make the stop for Gettysburg and silence the attack. The Bullets then scrapped and clawed to find a late winner of their own over the final minutes of the quarter, but Titus came up with a big stop on the lone shot she faced, and the two teams headed to overtime.
In the first overtime period the Bullets again controlled most of the action, as Gettysburg outshot Bryn Mawr 5-2 in the frame. Titus made several incredible saves to keep the Owls in the game. In one sequence, the Bullets' Julia Soares managed to get free on the right side of the circle and sent a shot arcing towards the top of the cage. Titus came out and swatted the ball away to her right, but another Bullets attacker came flying down the left and appeared to be headed in alone on the cage. However, Titus sprinted across the circle and dove for the ball, getting to it with her pads just before the Gettysburg player did and sending the ball skidding away. The Owls did have a couple of very good opportunities late in the OT period; Bergman had a shot at the hat-trick with just seconds left, but her shot was saved. That led to an Owls' penalty corner, and Meghan O'Shea got a shot off on that effort, but Caputo saved that shot too and the teams headed to a second overtime frame.
The Bullets were on the front foot again in the start to the final OT, taking three shots in the first seven minutes of action and not allowing Bryn Mawr a single look at the cage. Once again, Gettysburg seemed to have several very good looks at winning the game, the first being perhaps their best. On a breakout of their defensive zone, Henna Fraiman made a great run through the middle of the Owls' defense and received a pass that put her alone on goal. Fraiman drove to her right with Titus coming out to match her attack. The Bullets attacker tried to go between the pads during one of Titus' strides, but the sophomore goaltender dropped to the turf to stop the shot and continue the game. Later on, Gettysburg had two other shots go just wide of the cage.
Then, Bryn Mawr finally got the chances they were looking for. Bergman had the first crack at it, receiving a perfect pass through the middle of the Gettysburg defense right in the middle of the circle. She carried to her left, outmaneuvering the Bullets' goaltender and getting a wide open look at the cage. However, she had to spin to catch up to the ball and get a good shot off, and that seemed to throw off her orientation. Bergman's shot came a little too early, slipping all the way across the face of the cage and out over the endline.
It seemed the golden opportunity may have just passed the Owls by, but just a minute later, senior captain Mary Cugini ensured that it had not. With the clock winding under a minute to go, Paige Davis got a restart on the left sideline and passed the ball into the center of the field to Bergman. With all kinds of space in front of her, Bergman sprinted into the offensive third of the field, and then when met by a defender, she slipped a perfect pass to the top of the circle for Cugini. The senior midfielder received while moving to the right side of the circle, and she was able to possess and drive down towards the endline. Caputo tried to come out and meet her, but Cugini beat her and got a great angle on the cage. With a defender draped on her back, Cugini blasted a shot past Caputo and into the center of the cage, sparking a wild celebration from the Owls sideline.
With the win, Bryn Mawr moves to 8-1 on the season and 2-1 in Centennial Conference play. Today's result was the most goals the Owls have scored against Gettysburg in program history, and again, it marks the first time Bryn Mawr has beaten the Bullets. In fact, with today's win, the Owls earned Bryn Mawr Athletics' first victory over Gettysburg in any sport besides cross country/track & field in recorded department history.
The Owls will look to keep the positive momentum rolling when they get back into action on Wednesday. Bryn Mawr will travel to Muhlenberg for another big Centennial Conference contest, with gametime on Wednesday set for 7:30 PM in Allentown.