With a new coach and nine freshmen and sophomores on the roster, plenty has changed this season for the Garrison Forest field hockey team.
As host Bryn Mawr found out Wednesday, however, what remains consistent is the Grizzlies’ dominance once the ball is in play.
Senior Ella Kokinis had a pair of goals and senior Lauren Widdowson added a goal and an assist as No. 3 Garrison Forest scored three straight and held the host No. 11 Mawrtians scoreless for the final 42:01 in a 4-1 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference win.
Mired in a second-quarter tie that looked to be up for grabs, the Grizzlies — vying for their fifth straight trip to the conference championship game — finally managed to eschew their sluggish start and put their game into gear.
“We talked after the first quarter about how we started off really slow, and we needed to just regroup, refocus and play our game to our level of hockey,” Kokinis said. “I think we recognized that and needed to fix it, and we did a good job turning it around.”
Garrison Forest (5-0 overall, 2-0 conference) began making stops at the defensive end, then pushing the ball upfield. Widdowson’s unassisted goal gave the Grizzlies a 2-1 lead with 10:08 left in the second quarter, and Kokinis and junior Bell Mazza then put the game out of reach with second-half scores, ensuring that the Grizzlies still haven’t lost to Bryn Mawr since the 2009 IAAM final.
Despite the lopsided result, first-year Garrison Forest coach Mimi Smith said she’d like to see improvements from her team, particularly in the opening minutes of games. That will be especially prudent when the Grizzlies face a trio of high-caliber opponents at this weekend’s MAX Field Hockey High School National Invitational in Pennsylvania.
“I still don’t think we’re playing to our potential,” said Smith, a former All-American at Old Dominion and national team member. “We’re not starting out as strong as I’d like, and I haven’t really been able to determine what they’re holding back. We can do much better. … At any moment, this game could’ve gone in any direction.”
That was of some solace to Bryn Mawr (1-2, 0-2), which fought hard, but in the end lacked enough sustained firepower to compete with one of the area’s top teams. The Mawrtians, who will get help in the coming weeks when several players return from injuries, got their goal from freshman Zoe Herkalo and 15 saves from senior goalie Alex de Jesus.
“We need our full team intact,” Bryn Mawr coach Jeanette Budzik said. “We need just a little bit more, but the people on the sideline that are coming in, they’re giving all they have and it’s been pretty remarkable. I said to the kids, ‘The score was a loss. The way we played was not a loss.’ We’re going to get around that corner soon. I really believe that.”
Garrison Forest 4, Bryn Mawr 1
Goals: G-Kokinis 2, Widdowson, Mazza; B-Herkalo. Assists: G-Widdowson; B-Lynch. Saves: G-Klebasko 5; B-de Jesus 15. Half: Garrison Forest, 2-1.