All-Metro senior forward Paige Hanson and her No. 5-ranked Bryn Mawr teammates knew their regular-season opening game at No. 8 Fallston would be difficult.
The Cougars were looking to win their third straight field hockey championship and were inspired to be playing their first game at home for new head coach Megan Grant.
FOR THE RECORD - A headline Sept. 5 in Sports incorrectly said that Bryn Mawr has a new field hockey coach this season. The new coach is at Fallston. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.
But with 11:39 to play in the second half, Hanson picked up where she left off last season, making the most of a corner opportunity (one of 15 for the Mawrtians] to put the ball past Fallston goalie Anne Morgan Milchling. It was the only goal allowed by the Fallston senior, who made six saves to keep her team competitive during the 1-0 Bryn Mawr victory.
"The ball went to the top off a fumble," said Hanson, who made note of the Fallston playing field's rough surface. "The field was a challenge, but sometimes it's an advantage because you'll get a bounce. The ball came. It was spur-of-the-moment, and I just turned and put it in. It was instinct, I think."
Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said she saw it more as Hanson using her good stick skills to make the goal happen in a physical, competitive game.
"Both these teams have a lot of talent," said Budzik. "We moved the ball well on attack and maintained possession [most of the second half]. But Fallston's girls played very well for [Grant]. They're a pretty intensive team."
Grant was able to smile at the end of the game when asked how it had been for her in her first game replacing coach Alice Puckett, who won 340 games and 11 state championships over 26 years.
"Phew!" she said. "It was a big, exciting game with just one-goal difference. The girls were really excited and pumped to play and it was definitely hard fought. I think we need to keep our heads up and be more productive in our circle."
Defensively, Grant praised her goalie and defensive backs Kelly Mattingly, Leah Perrotta and Sammy Mosketti for coming up big while under almost constant attack.
More field hockey
No. 1 Garrison Forest 4, Roland Park 1: : Cailie Murphy scored twice to lead the Grizzlies (1-0) past the Reds (0-1). Emily Cain made five saves for Garrison Forest.
No. 10 Archbishop Spalding 2, Chesapeake-AA 1: : Christine Galligan scored the game-winner with 19:30 left in the game to lift the host Cavaliers (1-0) past the Cougars (0-1). Spalding took a 1-0 lead at the 18:57 mark before Chesapeake-AA tied the score with six minutes left in the half.
No. 3 Hereford 4, Loch Raven 0: : Laura Ewell had a hat trick to power the Bulls (1-0) past the Raiders (0-1).
No. 14 Reservoir 2, Tuscarora 1: : The Gators (1-0) took a 2-0 lead before the host Titans (0-1) scored with 30 seconds left at the Tournament of Champions. Amanda Jackson and Katherine Tuttle each had a goal for Reservoir.
No. 4 Perry Hall 3, Harford Tech 0: : The Gators (1-0) got single goals from Kevin Medrano, John Shipley and Nick Liberto to beat the visiting Cobras (0-1). Perry Hall's Zach Miller and Brandon Kozlouski combined efforts for the shutout.
No. 8 Severna Park 3, Severn 1: : Kevin Priddy had the lone goal for the Admirals (0-1) in the loss.