BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Owls field hockey squad welcomed Ursinus to campus earlier Saturday afternoon for a big Centennial Conference showdown. The winner of today's contest would earn the third-seed in the Centennial Conference tournament next week, while the loser would be forced to host a play-in game on Tuesday evening for the right to go to next weekend's semifinals. The Owls controlled play throughout much of the first half against Ursinus, and ultimately outshot the Bears by a 13-11 margin on the day. Unfortunately, a brutally late goal from Ursinus sent the visitors home with a 1-0 win on the day.
Bryn Mawr was on the front foot from the opening whistle, as the Owls had a flurry of shots just two minutes into the opening quarter. An initial effort from Grace Morris was blocked, and then Meghan O'Shea had a crack at the rebound that was stuffed by Ursinus goalkeeper Addie Frey. However, the Owls earned a penalty corner for their efforts, and that led to two more shots for Bryn Mawr. However, Frey once again came up big early, stopping shots from Sara Rilatt and Kelly Bergman to keep things scoreless early. Later on in the quarter, the Owls earned two more penalty corners, but Ursinus defenders blocked shots on each of those attempts. It would then be Ursinus' turn to get an offensive chance, as the visitors earned a penalty corner of their own with just over a minute to play in the first quarter. That led to a shot from Devon Carroll, but Mary Cugini did well to block that ball and clear out the danger. Bergman would have one more chance late in the quarter on the counterattack, but the Bears defense stopped that shot as well and the teams remained tied at 0-0 after one quarter.
The Owls' control over the game continued into the second half, but Ursinus had several strong opportunities of their own. Midway through the quarter, Bryn Mawr earned a series of four penalty corners over a 30-second stretch. The Owls got two shots off in that series, but both of those efforts were blocked. Then, Ursinus immediately followed up with two penalty corners of their own. The Bears ran plays that led to good shot opportunities on both of the corners, but Owls goaltender Maggie Titus did a good job of standing strong and stopping both shots. That stretch would close out the offensive action in the first half, and the teams headed to the halftime break tied at 0-0.
If the first half was arguably controlled more by the Owls, then it would certainly be fair to say Ursinus had the better of the chances in the second half. In the third quarter, the Bears outshot Bryn Mawr 2-0 and outcornered the Owls 3-0, but Titus and some strong defending from the Owls kept the visitors off the board. In the fourth quarter, as play got more frenetic, both sides had offensive chances. Ursinus had the first good look of the final period, as they came as close as either side had to scoring a goal. On a penalty corner, the Bears sent the ball to the near wing and Erin Saybolt. She let loose a hard shot that Titus initially got a piece off, but the ball continued past the Owls goalkeeper and appeared to be headed directly for the center of the cage. With the ball just a foot from going over the endline, Owls first-year Courtney Cutone made a spectacular defensive save, calmly getting her stick down behind Titus to stop the ball and eventually clear away the danger. The Owls would then get an offensive chance of their own just a few minutes later, but a shot from Rilatt on a penalty corner was blocked once again.
Over the final three minutes of the quarter, Ursinus earned two more penalty corners, but their lone shot on those opportunities was blocked, and it appeared as if the teams would be headed to extra time. However, with just seconds left on the clock, disaster struck for the Owls. After an Ursinus green card, Bryn Mawr had the ball on their right wing midway into their own half of the field with 25 seconds to play. However, the Owls were unable to clear their own end, and with time winding down, Ursinus created one more chance on goal. Ultimately, the Bears worked the ball into the top of the circle and let loose a hard shot to the left of Maggie Titus. The ball made it past Titus and took a deflection off of a player in front of the post, skidding into the back of the cage with about a second left on the clock. That sent Ursinus into a wild celebration and ultimately handed the Bears a stunning 1-0 win in the contest.
The Owls will now look to put today's tough result immediately behind them and begin prepping for the program's first ever playoff appearance on Tuesday. Bryn Mawr will face off against Gettysburg on Tuesday afternoon, as the Bullets earned the fifth and final spot in the conference tournament thanks to a 3-2 overtime win over Dickinson earlier Saturday. Gametime on Saturday is still TBA.