Forget the rivalry. Forget redemption. Top-ranked Bryn Mawr entered yesterday's field hockey semifinal against third-ranked Roland Park with a business-like attitude, intent on keeping high emotion out of the game plan.
The strategy proved lucrative for the Mawrtians, as Jen Ahn scored two second-half goals to lift the hosts to a 2-0 win and to their third straight conference final, this time for the new Independent Athletic Association of Maryland's A Division title.
"We talked about it quite a bit and decided to just go out and play our passing game and use the skills we know we have," Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said. "We really had to focus on just our team. That's hard to do with anyone, but especially with all the hoopla."
The Mawrtians (21-1) advanced to the title game at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Towson University against St. Paul's, a 2-0 winner over St. Mary's.
Bryn Mawr will be seeking at least a piece of a league title for the third straight year after winning outright in 1997 and tying Roland Park in the old Association of Independent Schools last fall.
Following a scoreless first half, Ahn got Bryn Mawr on the board with 14: 44 left, turning a feed from Miles Whitman into a hard, 10-yard shot past goalie Molly Baker.
"The ball was sent in," said Ahn. "I just trapped it first, then shot it."
After a collision in front of the goal, Ahn extended the lead on a penalty stroke with 5: 41 left.
"We knew that we could get to the goal, but we really had to focus on finishing," said Budzik. "The girls really did that today. This was also one of our best games ever as far as passing and the whole team moving as a unit."
The win avenged Bryn Mawr's only loss of the season, a 1-0 setback to the Reds in a stroke-off Oct. 22.
Despite being outshot 9-5, Roland Park (12-3-2) played well.
"We took it to them pretty much until late in the game," said Reds coach Debbie Bloodsworth. "But they managed to put the ball in."