Behind an explosive offensive attack combined with a strong defense, the Men's Soccer team has started this season with a bang, racing to a 4-0 record, and rocketing to No. 18 in this week's NSCAA/Adidas Division III Poll.
The team, which is coming off an immensely successful 17-3 season, is showing its prowess despite losing many top seniors last year. Yet, without the benefit of top scorers Aerik Williams and Matt Doran and Ryan Kitzen, the Blue Jays have seemed hardly worse for the wear. They have won by a large margin in every game so far, outscoring their opponents 27-1 in games this season.
Hopkins opened its season against Villa Julie in triumphant fashion as the Jays won 4-0 at home in the Dr. Al Tucci JHU Kickoff Classic. The team thrived behind the experienced play of junior forward Chad Tarabolous, who scored two of the team's four goals.
The Jays started the game by taking the lead and they never looked back. Freshman forward Edmond Wybaillie scored the team's first goal of the season to give the Jays a 1-0 lead. Senior midfielder Adam Hack passed to junior midfielder Mike Poston in the 33rd minute to give the Jays a 2-0 lead.
After a long scoring drought, Tarabolous took control, scoring two goals in under four minutes to give the Jays the 4-0 lead by which they would go on to win the game.
The Jays captured the Tucci Kickoff Classic the following day as they defeated Manhattanville 5-0 for their second straight shutout.
Hopkins went scoreless in the first half, but they finally got on the board in the 52nd minute as sophomore midfielder Chris Brown scored the first goal of the game for the Jays.
Tarabolous then scored to increase the Jays' lead to 2-0. The Jays continued their scoring with goals from Hack, senior midfielder Daniel Brienza, and freshman forward Steve Read to end the scoring, and to give the Jays a 5-0 win.
Remarkably, in a telling statistic, the Jays out-shot Manhattanville 33-0, meaning that Hopkins held their opponents without a shot on goal for the entire contest.
"We have a really strong defense right now," said Read.
Following that win, the Blue Jays received more good news as their impressive victories propelled them to the No. 25 ranking in the NSCAA/Adidas Division III Men's Soccer Poll. They have since moved even higher, to No. 18 even though they were not even ranked in the preseason poll. They are also ranked No. 4 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
The Blue Jays extended their unbeaten streak to three games just a few days later as they handily defeated Goucher by a score of 6-1 in the JHU Alumni Invitational at Homewood Field on Saturday. Remarkably, the Jays managed to spread the ball around evenly as all six goals were scored by six different players.
The Jays took an early advantage behind Hack's header in just the 10th minute, but the Goucher Gophers came firing back with a goal of their own, as Brian Concklin scored just minutes later to tie the game at 1-1. Concklin's goal was the first by an opposing team this season against the Jays.
But, unfortunately for the Gophers, Concklin's goal also turned out to be the team's only goal of the day. The Jays regained the lead in dramatic fashion as Brown and Tarabolous each scored within a period of just two minutes to give the Blue Jays a more comfortable lead.
Hopkins added to its lead as freshman defender Jeff Grosser scored. Then, in the 89th minute, with the game already well in hand, the Jays added two more goals, one by Read and the other by freshman midfielder Aaron Blynn to end the game.
The following day, the Jays extended their unbeaten streak to four games, by pummeling Centenary 12-0 to claim the JHU Alumni Invitational Championship.
Grosser scored his second goal in as many games to put the Jays on top early. Tarabolous continued his hot streak by scoring 10 minutes later to increase the Jays' lead to 2-0.
Then the Jays' scoring explosion began as Poston scored the first of his two goals on the day, followed by a score by sophomore forward Doug Pollack, then freshman midfielder Traver Davis, Read and junior defender Rob Morrison all scored to make the score 7-0. Just before halftime, Poston scored again to increase the lead to 8-0. Edmond Wybaillie, senior defender Greg Mangels, freshman midfielder Ben Schwartz, and Brienza all added scores to win the game for the Blue Jays by a commanding score of 12-0.
The victory broke the Hopkins scoring record for goals in a game.
The Jays will next travel to No. 19 Drew for a 7 p.m. match. They know they have their work cut out for them.
"Coming off that last game, we played well but we have to pay even better this week," said Read.