Towson's Shannon Band didn't particularly care what her shot looked like as long as it went into the cage.
In the No. 1-ranked Generals' season-opening field hockey clash with No. 3 Bryn Mawr yesterday, Band knew the game could come down to one stroke of luck. And she had it midway through the second half, giving host Towson a 1-0 victory.
Band fired her game-winner from close range, a short pop from a couple of feet away on the right side. The ball took a Towson twist and rolled into the cage, but Band wasn't sure exactly what deflected it.
"It was a really ugly goal," the senior forward said with a laugh. "I think it actually hit off the goalie, but I'll take it."
Mawrtians second-half goalie Rachel Kiselewich thought the ball, which had gotten behind her after Alley Firey's free hit from the top of the circle, caromed off a clump of grass over the goal line.
"Everybody was set up the way we were supposed to be," said Kiselewich of her defense, "and if you look at the grass, there's a lot of bumps in it, and that makes it difficult to read the shot. Somehow, it was deflected around, and it went in. I think that's just the way, sometimes, field hockey games go."
After an even first half highlighted by a couple of terrific diving saves by Mawrtians goalie Evelyn Brosi, the Generals dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half.
However, the goal, with 14:11 left, awakened the Mawrtians.
Bryn Mawr kept the ball on attack almost all of the rest of the game. Towson goalie Jessy Willse made two saves, including a close-range stop against Mollie Gilbert, in the final 8:30.
"I love how, at the end, we had so much intensity," said Mawrtians senior Margaret Yellott. "It's a great feeling when everyone goes for the ball. Now we have to take that energy and channel it into productivity."
The defending Baltimore County champion Generals had never beaten Bryn Mawr, the five-time defending private schools champion.
"Two years ago, we lost 6-0. That was a wipeout," said Towson senior back Hayley Mershon. "Last year, it was 1-1, and it was a really good game. This year, we just wanted to take the next step up."