There is a reason a team plays 80 minutes of regulation soccer, and that reason was seen Saturday as Bryn Mawr came from behind in the final 12 minutes of the game to beat Roland Park, 2-1, for the Mawrtians’ second-straight IAAM B Conference soccer title.
If you were one of the puzzled people who walked in late to the stadium at Anne Arundel Community College, Saturday, your eyes were not mistaken. Because despite the offensive dominance, the ball hardly crossing midfield and the six shots to two, defending champion Bryn Mawr was, in fact, trailing Roland Park, 1-0.
“We wanted to score early and hopefully take them out of their game,” Reds’ Head Coach Kevin Cooper said. “They are a very disciplined and skilled team, and we thought that playing from behind would rattle the a bit. And I think it did.”
But while Roland Park wasted no time getting on the board for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of the game, Bryn Mawr kept their fans on the edge of their seats till the 68th and 77th minutes to put down the Reds’ hopes of a 2010 crown.
Answering junior Christa Reese’s fourth minute goal for the Reds, Bryn Mawr senior captain Morgan Rubin and junior Riley Barger laced back-to-back goals just in the nick-of-time to claim a second straight title.
“Roland Park got on the board early when they finished their opportunity, and when you go down that early it is easy to mentally collapse and fold,” Mawrtian Head Coach Tina Steck explained. “But the girls decided that this was still going to be there game, stuck to their game plan and good things were going to happen.
“Their drive to win never faded, and that’s one of the biggest reasons they came out with the victory.”
Rubin’s goal in the 68th minute was fed up the middle from a teammate and punched into the back of the goal, but Barger’s score was something of true championship greatness.
Feeling the urgency of the moment and hearing her coach’s already hoarse voice screaming to take a shot, Barger laced her shot from far out and placed it just over the leaping Roland Park goalie and under the crossbar to send the Mawrtian fans into a frenzy.
Doing all of it with just three minutes left on the clock.
“We had a lot of momentum from the first goal and we just kept pushing forward,” Barger explained. “The ball rolled across the 18 and I just shot it.”
The Roland Park seniors have come a long way from their freshman year, according to Coach Cooper, and he is happy beyond words with what his team has accomplished.
“I couldn’t praise my senior group more,” Cooper said. “They started their freshman season 2-12, and to finish this year at 15-3, it is a huge accomplishment for our program and I couldn’t say anything bad about them.
““The girls were outstanding tonight. When you go into the last game of the season, you want them to be playing at their best, and we definitely were.”
For Bryn Mawr, this 2010 repeat championship was more than just the playoffs, the rivalries and the regular season. It went further back.
“They started even before preseason being in shape and ready to go,” Steck said. “Then, in preseason, they learned a little bit more about the game and what to do in certain situations, and our schedule was set up to play some S Conference teams so we could be exposed and learn some of our weaknesses.”
“It is especially important to us because we were the defending champions and we wanted to get the second title,” Rubin said.
“It was one of our goals in the beginning to win the championship,” Barger added. “The whole season we all worked really hard to meet that goal.”
|Bryn Mawr 2, Roland Park 1|
BM-Rubin, Barger; RP-Reese.