ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The freight train that is the Bryn Mawr field hockey program just kept rolling earlier Wednesday night, as the Owls picked off another Centennial Conference opponent. In a similar story to their most recent win against Gettysburg, Bryn Mawr fell behind by a goal early in the second half, but less than two minutes later, they responded with a goal of their own to tie the game back up. And once again, it was Mary Cugini who scored the game-winning goal, her second in as many games. However, this time the Owls did not need extra time to get the win. Cugini's effort came with seconds remaining in the third quarter and then the Owls were able to ice the rest of the game away to complete the 2-1 win over the Mules. Reigning Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week Maggie Titus wasn't called on often in the cage for the Owls, but when she was, the sophomore goaltender came up with several huge stops to preserve the team's first win over Muhlenberg since 1996.
Bryn Mawr was on the attack very early on in the contest. The Owls outcornered Muhlenberg 7-3 on the night, and they got their first penalty corner chance of the game just under four minutes in. five minutes later, Bryn Mawr got another penalty corner, and that led to their first shot of the night, a great effort from Grace Morris that Muhlenberg goaltender Jordan Segrave made the save on. The Owls would earn one more penalty corner in the first period, but no shot came on that opportunity. Muhlenberg's lone shot of the frame went wide, and the first quarter ended scoreless.
The script was completely reversed for the second quarter, as it was the Mules who were on the front foot much of the time while Bryn Mawr was held shotless in the period. The Mules had a shot blocked ten minutes into the quarter. Later, Muhlenberg's lone penalty corner of the period resulted in two shots wide of the cage as the Owls defense did a tremendous job of keeping the Mules at bay in a 0-0 first half.
It was Muhlenberg who broke the deadlock on the scoreboard just 45 seconds into the third quarter, however. After earning a penalty corner right out of the gate, the hosts inserted the ball to the top left of the circle to Maleah Hess. She sent a pass across the top of the circle to teammate Sarah Raab, then cut down to the middle of the attacking area to receive the give-and-go. Without even stopping the pass, Hess fired a shot that snuck just inside the right post to give the Mules a 1-0 lead.
However, that goal seemed to have no negative effect on the Owls, as Bryn Mawr came right back down to the other end and tied the game back up less than two minutes later. After earning another penalty corner of their own, Lydia Fisher inserted to Mary Cugini at the top right of the circle for the Owls. Mary Cugini received, then sent a pass across the top to Sara Rilatt. After drawing the Mules' defenders out of the cage, Rilatt made one more pass to her left and found Fisher all alone on the left wing. The senior defender was able to take a few steps towards the goal, then sent a shot past Segrave and inside the left part of the cage to make it a 1-1 game.
Now with the momentum squarely back in their favor, the Owls stayed on the attack looking for the go-ahead goal. Another penalty corner three minutes later resulted in shots for Cugini and Morris, but Segrave made the save on both of those efforts. Later, Cugini had another shot saved, but that attack resulted in another penalty corner for the Owls, and once again, the visitors proved potent on a corner opportunity. Fisher inserted the ball up top to Rilatt, and the junior sent a rocket of a shot on goal, but Segrave made a strong stop. However, the Owls were able to bat the rebound over to the right wing, where Kelly Bergman collected and fired another shot on goal. The low shot seemed destined for the back of the cage, but a defender made a great play to get her stick on the ball and stop it right on the endline. However, who else but Mary Cugini was right there for the Owls. The senior was the fastest to react to the loose ball, extending her stick and cramming the ball right into the back of the cage to give Bryn Mawr a 2-1 lead with just seconds to go in the third quarter.
With a lead in the fourth and final quarter, Bryn Mawr now looked to extend their advantage. Both Morris and Rilatt had shots saved or blocked in their efforts to give the Owls some breathing room. From there, it was all about the defense for the Owls, as Muhlenberg tried to put a last-ditch effort together to tie the game. Perhaps their best chance came on a sequence with just under ten minutes to go in the game. Attacking down the right side, the Mules sent a long pass to Alexandra Ginn directly in front of the goal mouth. Ginn managed to get space on her defender and fire a shot on goal, but Titus had expertly come out to cut off the angle, and she absorbed the shot right in the midsection and kicked it away. However, her clearing attempt went straight to the Mules' Marlee Siegel, and she lifted a high, hard shot right back at Titus. Bryn Mawr's goaltender showcased some impressive reaction time, as she stuck her paddle up and swatted the ball away, momentarily giving Bryn Mawr a reprieve. Later, Titus was called on for one more save, as a penalty corner gave Muhlenberg a chance to tie the game. However, Titus slammed the door on a shot from right in front of the cage, and an ensuing shot went just wide of the post. That series proved to be the final chance of the contest, as the Owls ultimately hung on for the 2-1 win.
Once again, this is Bryn Mawr's first win over the Mules since 1996, and it is just the third win in program history against Muhlenberg. The victory is also Bryn Mawr's third Centennial Conference win of the season, a mark they have not met since that same 1996 season. It is the second most conference wins in Owls history.
Bryn Mawr will look to keep their winning ways going when they return home for their next contest on Saturday. The Owls will welcome McDaniel to campus for another important Centennial Conference showdown, with gametime on Applebee Field slated for 12:00 PM on the 12th.