BRYN MAWR, Pa. - Not many senior student-athletes can say they got the storybook ending to their career that Codie Fiedler-Kawaguchi had earlier Saturday for the Owls. The hard-working Bryn Mawr midfielder tallied her first-ever collegiate goal, and paired with an amazing defensive effort from fellow senior Kara Breeden and the rest of the Owls, it seemed that goal would give Bryn Mawr a stunning win over Ursinus on Saturday. The Bears did end up tying the game with a goal in the final minutes, but Fiedler-Kawaguchi, Breeden, and the rest of the Bryn Mawr soccer team were certainly not disappointed by getting a result against a Centennial Conference opponent for the first time in 2017; it was a perfect way to wrap up the season.
Bryn Mawr was on the front foot from the opening whistle in today's contest, as Genevieve Main let loose a shot just 51 seconds into the contest. The sophomore would rip another effort less than a minute later, but both shots were saved by Ursinus' Marisa Kalkstein. Ursinus responded immediately to that early attack with an outburst of their own several minutes later, but Owls goalkeeper Leah Baer made two great stops to keep the game scoreless inside of ten minutes in. In fact, that would be an omen for the rest of the half, as both sides created chances but the goalkeepers were up to each and every test. The Bears would outshoot Bryn Mawr 16-3 in the frame, but thanks to some great defending from the Owls and strong goalkeeping from Baer, the teams headed to the half still knotted at 0-0.
Ursinus continued to carry an advantage in shots in the second half, as the visitors peppered the net with shots looking for the game's opening goal. However, it was Bryn Mawr who would strike first in the contest with a wonder-goal from Fiedler-Kawaguchi. In the 77th minute, the Owls started a counterattack that resulted in the senior getting possession of the ball down the left side. She fired a shot back across the goal, a beautiful strike that curled around the Bears goalkeeper and into the side netting to spark a wild celebration from the Bryn Mawr sideline.
Needing to hang on for just over 13 minutes for their first ever win against the Bears, Bryn Mawr's defense locked things down even tighter. Ursinus pushed further and further up the field in an effort to get an equalizer, and the Bears also increased the number of shots they took as they fired everything they had at the net. Bear made several truly spectacular saves at times, including a diving effort to push a low shot just wide of the post to keep the Owls out in front with just a few minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Bears pressure finally paid off, as the visitors were able to get a goal on a quick counterattack after a Bryn Mawr possession in the midfield. An Ursinus player sent a pass through the back line to Katie Bell, who had split the two central defenders and was alone on goal at the top of the penalty area. It appeared as if Bell may have been offsides, as the defenders raised their hands looking for the call, but none was forthcoming. Instead, Bell managed to dribble around the diving effort of an onrushing Baer and slot a shot to a wide open net to tie the game up with 3:15 left to play.
Ursinus nearly went on to win the game in regulation, as the visitors' Mackenzie Groff ripped a high, curling shot from the left side towards the far upper 90. However, Baer sprinted across the goal mouth and got her hands up just in time to push the ball up, off the crossbar, and out of play. With that, regular time ended and the teams headed to extra time. In the first overtime period, Ursinus had the early opportunities, but Baer made two more great saves in the first five minutes to keep things going. Then it was the Owls' turn to get a few offensive chances. Gwen Vandivere had a shot trickle just wide, and a deep free kick from Kara Breeden sailed just high over the goal. With the first ten minutes gone, the teams swapped sides for the final overtime frame. This one was all Ursinus, as Bryn Mawr found themselves just hanging on at the end in an effort to complete the draw. The Owls weathered most of the Ursinus attacks with ease, but the Bears nearly won it all with just a few minutes to play. Kerry Goldstein nailed a shot straight out from distance after getting around her defender. The ball sailed just over the outstretched arms of Baer and seemed destined for the top of the goal. However, it was just a little too high, and it caught the bottom half of the crossbar. The ball kicked straight down with backspin, and that proved to be crucial as it then bounced backwards away from the goal. That ended up being the final good chance of the game for either side, and when the horn finally sounded, Bryn Mawr happily claimed their 1-1 draw.
The Owls made some very impressive improvement throughout the 2017 campaign all the way up to today's solid result, and this is a team that will continue to be on the rise in the near future. Despite the loss of seniors Kara Breeden and Codie Fiedler-Kawaguchi, Bryn Mawr still brings back a very talented veteran group next season. Add to that a bevy of impressive incoming student-athletes and there is a great recipe for success in the near future for the Owls.