Towson, Md. - It only took the Bryn Mawr soccer team three minutes to battle back from a deficit in the first half of tonight's season opener at Goucher College. However, the second half went the way of the hosts, as the Gophers used two goals from Anja Opsahl to protect their home turf in a 3-1 victory over the Owls. Senior Alice Bell netted the equalizer for Bryn Mawr after Goucher had taken a 1-0 lead, and for a majority of the rest of the game, Bryn Mawr hung right there with the hosts. However, Opsahl found too much space on two separate occasions in the second half and her two goals proved to be the deciding factor in the contest.
Goucher (1-0) went on the offensive early on in tonight's match, taking two shots and earning a corner kick inside of the first ten minutes. Bryn Mawr (0-1) tried to settle in and get more possession of the ball, but the Gophers continued to hang onto the ball, earning two more corner kicks and forcing Owls senior goalkeeper Aviva Kosansky into making a key save on a shot in the 19th minute. That possession finally paid off for Goucher just 43 seconds past the half hour mark, as Stephanie Budrock took a pass from Kai Karrasch in the center of the attacking area and laced a shot into the upper part of the net to hand the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
Bryn Mawr managed to regroup immediately following that goal however. In the 34th minute, the Owls earned a free kick after a foul just across the midfield stripe. Nina Bertolami sent a cross into the box where it may have taken a deflection. Fellow senior Alice Bell got on the other end of the cross and whipped in a beautiful shot past the Gophers keeper, breaking the seal on the net and opening the Owls 2015 scoring account. The goal is the fifth career tally for Bell, who led the squad in scoring last season. It is also the second straight season that the Washington, D.C. native has tallied the opening goal of Bryn Mawr's season, as Bell also registered the Owls' lone goal against Wellesley in their first game of the 2014 campaign.
With the contest against Goucher tonight now tied at 1-1, both sides tempered their attack and started to play more of a possession game. Neither side got off another shot in the half, and the teams went to the locker room at the break still deadlocked at a goal apiece.
The Gophers came out for the second half firing on all cylinders, taking two shots in the first minute of the half and earning yet another corner kick a few minutes later. In fact, the hosts would outshoot the Owls by a total of 17-4 on the night, controlling the ball most of the way. Bryn Mawr, however, still would not yield, and midway through the second frame it was still a 1-1 game. Although the shots weren't there for Bryn Mawr, the Owls were able to grab a good bit of possession throughout the second half. Midfielders Caitlin Homstad and Haidyn Weight also both made some great tracking runs to deny Goucher on a few opportunities. Unfortunately for Bryn Mawr, that would change just a few seconds later.
Opsahl got Goucher back out in front in the 69th minute on a nice shot to the near side after a great pass from Christina Yarrish. Bryn Mawr made a flurry of substitutions in the minutes following the goal, trying to find a few fresh legs and perhaps a combination that would get the Owls back to level. In the 84th minute, Katherine Nickols took a direct kick and sent it sailing towards the goal, but it squeaked just wide past the goalpost.
It just wasn't to meant to be on this evening, as instead it was Goucher who would score once more before the final whistle. The Gophers got an insurance goal with just under four minutes remaining, with Opsahl once again playing the leading role in the tally. When the final horn sounded, Bryn Mawr was forced to head out with the tough 3-1 loss.
Fiona Steele had two shots on the night to lead the Owls while Bell and Nickols each chipped in an attempt of their own. Kosansky put in a solid effort, making five saves while playing the full 90 minutes in the goal for Bryn Mawr.
The Owls will get right back in action this weekend with their annual opening weekend Bryn Mawr-Haverford tournament. Bryn Mawr will host St. John Fisher on Saturday afternoon in the inaugural meeting between the two programs. Then on Sunday, the Owls will welcome Neumann to campus in the first meeting of the teams since 2009.