Owls Field Hockey's Fairy-Tale Run Comes To An End

Kelly Bergman attacks a ball against Gettysburg in the fall of 2019

BRYN MAWR, Pa. - A historic season came to a bittersweet end earlier Tuesday afternoon for the Bryn Mawr field hockey team. The Owls hosted Gettysburg in the first round of the Centennial Conference Championship tournament, their first ever postseason game in program history. Playing in front of a packed and raucous house of Bryn Mawr College faculty, staff, students and fans, and the two teams sure found a way to live up to the moment. Both sides seemed to be in control of one half apiece, with the Bullets taking a 1-0 lead late in the second quarter before Bryn Mawr owned the third and fourth periods. However, despite throwing everything they had at the Bullets' goal in the closing minutes, the Owls were unable to put a ball into the cage on the day, and Gettysburg managed to put an end to Bryn Mawr's storybrook season with a 1-0 win. Emma Bertrando scored the lone goal of the game for Gettysburg, tallying the game-winner on an assist by Henna Fraiman.

The Bullets were definitely the team on the front foot from the opening whistle, as the Owls seemed to take a little time to adjust to the moment early on in the contest. Gettysburg outshot Bryn Mawr 4-0 in the first quarter, and the Bullets earned four penalty corners in the frame as well. However, the Owls' defense did well to shut down all of those opportunities, with Maggie Titus making all three saves she needed to in the quarter.

In the second quarter, Bryn Mawr slowly managed to break out of their own end. Gettysburg still controlled most of the action, but the Owls got on the scoresheet with their first opportunities as well. With a little under five minutes to play in the first half, the Owls earned back-to-back-to-back penalty corners. Bryn Mawr managed to get off two shots on those opportunities, the second of which was a rocket of a shot from Sara Rilatt that required a strong save from Jillian Caputo in goal for Gettysburg. The Bullets still outshot the Owls 5-2 in the frame, but it appeared as if the Bryn Mawr defense had done enough to weather the storm and get to halftime unscathed. Unfortunately for the Owls, that would not be the case, as the Bullets finally took full advantage of one of their eight penalty corners on the day. With just under a minute to go in the quarter, Gettysburg capitalized on a Bryn Mawr turnover to earn a penalty corner, with Henna Fraiman stepping up to send in the ball. Fraiman inserted directly to Bertrando on the near wing, who stopped the pass and then fired a low rocket aimed to the left of Titus. Bryn Mawr's goalkeeper tried to get her right pad out to make the stop, but the ball snuck past and rattled the back of the cage to give the visitors a 1-0 lead right before halftime.

Bryn Mawr did a fantastic job of not letting that late goal deflate them however, and the Owls did a brilliant job of flipping the script on Gettysburg in the second half. The home team immediately went on the attack in the third quarter, with Cugini ripping a shot on goal that Caputo needed to save less than two minutes into the frame. The same sequence repeated just three minutes later, with Caputo making another fine stop on an effort from Cugini. The Owls would keep Gettysburg locked in their own end virtually the entire quarter, and Bryn Mawr earned another penalty corner just 90 seconds before the end of the third. This time, the Owls got the ball to Olivia Supron, but the Gettysburg defense stopped her effort, and the teams headed to the fourth and final quarter with the Bullets still leading 1-0.

The Owls continued their relentless attack in the fourth quarter, earning another penalty corner five minutes into the period. This time, Rilatt had her shot blocked again by another Bullets defender. As the Owls pressed further and further up the field, Gettysburg was able to earn a penalty corner of their own on the counterattack, but a shot from Julia Soares was blocked by a Bryn Mawr defender, and the Bullets put the rebound wide. Bryn Mawr continued to dominate possession the rest of the way, sending more and more numbers up the field to pour on the pressure. That last-ditch effort did pay off, as the Owls earned one final penalty corner with just over 30 seconds to go in the game. Bryn Mawr got the ball onto the stick of Mary Cugini at the top of the circle, but Caputo made one final save on her hard shot from straight on. With that, Gettysburg was able to run out the rest of the clock and claim the 1-0 win on the day. The Bullets will now move on to face Johns Hopkins in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference Championship tournament.

With the loss, the Owls put a pin on their most impressive season in program history. Bryn Mawr set program records for wins, Centennial Conference wins, goals, and assists, just to name a few categories this season. The Owls will also now say thank you to the three seniors who have left an indellible mark on this Bryn Mawr field hockey program. Mary Cugini leaves as arguably one of the most "clutch" players in Bryn Mawr field hockey history. Cugini scored the most game-winning goals on record for Bryn Mawr field hockey, started the fourth-most games, and leaves tied for ninth in most goals scored. She set a new program record for game-winning goals in a single season with six this year alone. Lydia Fisher sits alone atop the record books in terms of minutes played, leaving Bryn Mawr having played 4,347 minutes as an Owl. Grace Morris is right behind Fisher in fifth all-time in that category with 3,701 minutes played. All three Owls will certainly be missed, but the program, the department, and Bryn Mawr College will always remember them as the senior class of one of the greatest teams in Bryn Mawr history.