BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr lacrosse team finally got their 2019 season underway earlier Saturday afternoon against Notre Dame of Maryland University. After a couple of frustrating cancelations over the past week, it turned out today's season-opener was definitely worth the wait. The Owls showcased some fantastic all-around play and several young faces impressed in their debuts to help Bryn Mawr claim a 14-9 victory in a very entertaining contest. First-years Isabel Shin and Sierra Hamilton put together quite the coming out party in their first collegiate contest, combining for seven goals and both of Bryn Mawr's assists on the day. Kylie Woo added another four goals, including several key insurance tallies at the end to ensure the Owls' victory. Meanwhile, first-year goalkeeper Jessica Calloway sparkled in her own debut, making 11 saves on the afternoon to shut down a potent Notre Dame attack when it counted. The Gators were led by four goals from Kirstin McGee and another three by Megan Morales. Marie Salas made an impressive 21 saves on the day for the visitors.
The Owls jumped out in front in the first minute of the game on a goal by Isabel Shin. The first-year attacker raced into the top left of the circle and towards the cage, then let loose with a cannon of a shot that ripped past the goalkeeper Salas and high inside the opposite post, putting Bryn Mawr up 1-0 just 51 seconds in.
However, Notre Dame (Md.) responded brilliantly, scoring four unanswered goals over the next 11 minutes to take a 4-1 lead. Owls head coach Kelly Corbett called a timeout to help reset her squad and calm the nerves of some of her younger players, and that turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered for Bryn Mawr. Sierra Hamilton got the home team back on the scoreboard just a few minutes later, as she sprinted in from the very top of the arc, spun left off of a body check from her defender, and then ripped a shot from distance that was perfectly placed inside the top right corner. Just a minute later, Shin got the Owls within one on a free position shot, and then it was Nina Houri's turn to get her first collegiate goal. The first-year made a fantastic cut right down the center of the 8-meter circle and took a pass from Shin behind the cage on the left. Houri received the pass and sent it into the bottom right of the cage all in one motion, tying the game back up at 4-4.
Bryn Mawr then regained the lead just a few moments later, this time on a free position shot from Woo. After getting fouled in the attacking area, the sophomore and co-leading scorer from last season knew exactly what to do with the opportunity, taking a couple steps and then firing a low, hard shot that bounced between the legs of Salas and into the netting to make it a 5-4 Owls advantage. A few minutes later, Bryn Mawr doubled their lead thanks to another "first collegiate goal", this time off the stick of Sidney Bachrach. Bringing the ball in from behind the net off of a stoppage, the Tennessee native feigned as if she was going to pass out of the back, then raced unopposed to the front of the cage and deftly dropped a low shot past Salas and into the net.
Notre Dame briefly stopped the onslaught with a goal from Julie Hagis with under five minutes to go in the half, but the Owls scored twice more before the period ended. Shin netted her second of the day in unassisted fashion, and then Woo showed off her free position talents once again with another 8 meter goal. That gave Bryn Mawr an 8-5 advantage headed into the halftime break.
Out of that stoppage, the Gators seemed to respond brilliantly. The visitors rattled off three straight goals, two from Kirstin McGee and one from Megan Morales, in the opening seven minutes of the second half to tie the game back up at eight.
However, the Owls were determined to get the win on this day, and they showcased that desire with their performance in the final 20 minutes of the half. Shin and Hamilton got the scoring going once again for the Owls, with each tallying another goal to put Bryn Mawr back in front by a 10-8 score. The next ten minutes suddenly turned into a defensive battle, as both sides fought for ground balls and each goalkeeper came up with some key saves. Amirah Hewitt made several strong defensive plays in particular, showcasing her blazing speed to give Bryn Mawr a couple of key clearances throughout the game. Jessica Calloway also made a huge stop in that 10-minute window, stuffing a free position shot from McGee to help preserve Bryn Mawr's advantage. The Owls also got some help on the other side of the ball, as the Gator's Morales picked up her second yellow of the game, leaving the visitors without their top scorer this season for the final 16 minutes of the game.
Bryn Mawr made sure to capitalize off of their strong defensive play by bumping up their lead over the final ten minutes of action. Woo got things started by taking a pass from Hamilton late in the possession clock and firing a rocket from the middle of the 8-meter area into the top left corner of the cage. A few minutes later, Maeve Donnelly got on the board with her first goal of the season on a great individual effort, driving from the left side of the arc towards the middle of the 8-meter and firing a shot back across her body and inside the left post to make it 12-8 Bryn Mawr. A Notre Dame goal with 3:37 to play only momentarily slowed the Owls' attack, as the hosts easily sealed the game with two more goals from Woo and Hamilton. Those efforts gave Bryn Mawr a 14-9 advantage, and they would carry that through to the final horn.
With the win, the Owls open their season 1-0 for the first time since 2016. The team will look to continue the impressive start to their season when they get back in action next week. Bryn Mawr will travel to Goucher on Thursday, March 14th for their first road contest of the year, with gametime against the Gophers slated for 4:30 PM.