TOWSON, Md. — A dominant end to the first half was enough for Goucher in its season opener this afternoon, with the Gophers ultimately holding on for a 9-8 victory over Bridgewater (Va.) at Beldon Field.
Goucher (1-0) scored six of the final seven goals of the first half to take a 7-4 lead into the intermission. Its lead was 9-5 with less than seven minutes to go before a late rally from the Eagles (0-1), including two goals in the last minute of play. The last of those markers came with 13 seconds to go, but Erin Reifsnyder (Austin, Texas/St. Andrew's Episcopal) forced a turnover in the closing moments to seal the win.
Reifsnyder led the Gophers offensively with four goals, including a perfect 3 for 3 success rate on free position shots, while Emily Gill (White Hall, Md./North Harford) made eight saves to pick up her first win as a goalkeeper.
Caroline Fletcher scored a pair of goals in the opening six minutes of play to give Bridgewater an early advantage. Anneke Ossorio (Lafayette, Colo./Kent Denver School) answered with a free position goal to give Goucher its first tally of the season, but Brittany Lanahan responded for the Eagles on the next offensive rush to restore their two goal lead.
After that, however, the Gophers took control. Rita Meissner (Yonkers, N.Y./Yonkers) scored to begin a five-goal run over the next 13 minutes of play, and Goucher never relinquished its advantage. All four of Reifsnyder's goals came in the final 20 minutes of the half.
The game slowed down after the break, with each team trading a goal apiece over the first 22 minutes of play. Hannah Mae Brown (Pinedale, Wyo. / Dunn School) scored the Gophers' ninth and final tally with 8:26 left, and that would eventually be the game-winner.
Brown led Goucher with five draw controls, while Reifsnyder caused three turnovers, including the game-ending giveaway as the Eagles attempted a final rush towards goal. Megan Meluskey (Wilmington, Del./Concord) added a pair of goals for the Gophers.
For the game, Goucher outshot Bridgewater by a slim 21-19 margin, directing 18 of those 21 shots on goal. The Gophers scored on five of their 10 free position shots, led by Reifsnyder with three.
Fletcher paced the Eagles with four goals, while Rachel Gruber made nine saves in goal.
Goucher won its season opener for the first time since a 23-10 triumph over Mount St. Vincent on February 27, 2010. The Gophers also earned a victory for head coach Ceri Miller in her first game at the helm. They will remain at home for their next contest, a 4 p.m. matchup against Rowan on Tuesday.