From the start of this season, Olivia Rubin has felt something different about her Bryn Mawr lacrosse team.
There’s a stronger bond, the senior said, and that comes through on the field, where the No. 14 Mawrtians have gotten off to a 4-0 start after an 11-6 win at archrival Roland Park on Friday in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
“I’ve been playing on the team for four years,” Rubin said, “and right off the bat this has been the closest-knit team that I’ve ever played on, and I think that shows when we play. That trust that we all have for each other really translates to the way we play.”
It certainly showed against No. 10 Roland Park. The Mawrtians moved the ball quickly on attack, seven players scored and five goals were assisted.
The Mawrtians won most of the early draws with Abbey Hurlbrink, on the circle, controlling three of the first four. The teams traded goals early before Alex Marino converted a turnover to spark a three-goal Mawrtians run that gave them the lead for good less than 12 minutes into the first half.
Marino, who finished with three goals and three assists, scored on a feed from Hannah Lopez with 18 seconds left in the first half to boost the lead to 7-3. Virginia Oursler scored two of her three goals in the half.
The Reds (4-2, 0-2 IAAM) opened the second half with goals from Kiki Shaw and Shannon Smith to cut the lead to two, but they turned the ball over five times and Bryn Mawr goalie Maia Faraone made three of her 15 saves to hold them off over the next 9½ minutes.
“I was definitely in the zone, definitely more in the second half,” Faraone said. “My defenders were forcing to the outside and that forced lots of low-angle shots, and I was able to see the ball and track it and make saves.”
Faraone made some terrific stops, although the Reds kept shooting high, which played into the senior keeper’s strength.
Roland Park started the season with four games in five days on a spring break trip in Georgia and then fell to Maryvale when it returned, a game coach Kim McNemar said she shouldn’t have scheduled so soon after the trip.
Against Bryn Mawr, however, the Reds couldn’t overcome too many turnovers and poor shooting.
“I think we have really good chemistry, but then something doesn’t go right right away and I think they go back to old habits,” McNemar said. “They need to trust that time helps and I thought we got some unlucky calls, but that’s the way the game goes. We have to remain positive. We’re still a good team.”
Reds goalie Amber Bustard, last season’s All-Metro keeper, made 13 saves, but the Mawrtians’ quick ball movement made it hard for her to stop everything.
Bryn Mawr is off to its best since opening 7-0 in 2012. After finishing 6-6 in the A Conference last season, the Mawrtians already have won three conference games — though Roland Park was their first ranked opponent.
New coach Brooke Matthews, who played at Friends and at Northwestern, hasn’t made a lot of changes. She’s kept things fairly simple with more emphasis on playing together.
“I wasn’t really sure how they did things last year,” Matthews said, “so we just stressed trusting each other which is a big, big thing. We worked a lot on our stickwork and our speed. We half joke that we want to be one of the fittest teams in the IAAM and in the country. We really want that to pay off for us.”
Rubin, a team captain along with Faraone, Marino and defender Helen Mackay, said Matthews has also given them the confidence to be creative, expand their game and look for a variety of scorers.
“She’s instilled in us a sense of fearlessness that we haven’t had in our program before,” Rubin said. “She’s the type of coach that’s not going to get mad at you if you make mistakes as long as you’re going 100 percent, and I think that’s indicative of the way we’re playing.”
14Bryn Mawr 11, 10Roland Park 6
Goals: BM—Oursler 3, Marino 3, Lopez, O.Rubin, Hulrbrink, Andrews, E.Rubin; RP—Class, Cockerille, Kovinsky, K.Shaw, Litrenta, Lambert. Assists: BM—Marino 3, Lopez 2; RP—Lambert, Kovinsky. Saves: BM—M.Faraone 15; RP—Bustard 13.
Half: BM, 7-3.