After playing one of the toughest out of conference schedules in all of Division III women’s soccer, the Lady Jays carried a 6-1-1 record into Saturday’s match up with Centennial Conference rival Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. For Hopkins, their only blemishes had come in a loss to defending national champion Messiah College and a tie with then number two ranked Emory University. Despite dealing with a rash of injuries that had left the Blue Jay lineup depleted, they came into the game riding a four game winning streak in which they out-scored opponents 14-1. However, on this past gorgeous Saturday afternoon, the Lady Jays ran into a buzz saw in the form of Mules’ goalkeeper Francesca Cobuzzi. Despite outshooting Muhlenberg by a tally of 32-7, the Jays dropped a shocking 2-0 decision, one of the biggest upsets in the early goings of all of DIII women’s soccer. Cobuzzi posted an amazing 17 saves, and the Mules capitalized in their limited chances. Although Hopkins dominated the start of the game with four shots on Cobuzzi, it would be the Mules who would score first with their first shot on goal. In the 16th minute of action, CJ Graetzer would finish off a long punt from Cobuzzi by beating senior goalkeeper Meredith Maguire, putting the Mules ahead 1-0 early. While Hopkins continued to barrage the Muhlenberg net with shots, Cobuzzi held her own to finish off the first half with seven of her 17 saves, preserving the 1-0 lead. The second half played out much like the first with 20 total shots for the Blue Jays compared to just four for the Mules. However, with time winding down it was still Muhlenberg holding onto their one-goal lead. As the Blue Jays began pressing for a late, game-tying goal, Muhlenberg’s Taylor Pini put the game away with a goal in the 79th minute after a steal in the Blue Jays’ defensive zone. In earning the win, the Mules were able to do what few teams have been able to do this season: contain sophomore forward Hannah Kronick. Kronick was limited to just two shots, both on goal, a far cry from her typically dominant play. The Lady Jays have been hurt badly this season with injuries that have led to a short bench, requiring younger players to step up into big roles on the team. However, no one has stepped up quite like Kronick. Despite being just a sophomore, the Westfield, NJ native has already established herself as one of the team’s top offensive threats. She leads the team with 11 goals and 23 total points through nine games. To put that in perspective, the next highest goal scorer on the Blue Jays is junior Kelly Baker with two goals. Kronick’s 11 tallies accounts for just over half of Hopkins’ goal total as a team. Kronick has notched three hat-tricks including a four goal performance against Washington College. Following an historic freshman campaign (19 goals, 10 assists, NSCAA All-Region Second Team, First Team All-Centennial), she is looking to top the impressive numbers and personal accolades. On the other side of the field, the defense is anchored by senior captain Taylor Schulte and goalkeepers senior Meredith Maguire and junior Kelly Leddy. The Jays have combined to give up just nine goals over the first nine games of the season, while the offense has averaged 2.33 goals per game, putting the team in a position to win day in and day out. In addition to the Blue Jay goalkeepers splitting time, head coach Leo Weil has also had to make do without certain key players such as juniors Pamela Vranis and Kylie Fuller who have been sidelined with injuries. In response to this, Weil has shuffled his lineup so much that 17 different players have started for the Jays. Despite the lack of consistency in the lineup, the ability to mix and match the roster while still winning games speaks to the depth that the Blue Jays will need to utilize if they hope to make a push to win the Centennial Conference and go deep in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Jays next contest will be against the Garnet of Swarthmore College at home on September 30th on historic Homewood Field with first whistle scheduled for noon. In the meantime the Jays will take the time to get healthy and prepare themselves to take the Centennial Conference head on. Because of the Blue Jays top 10 national ranking, recent Centennial Conference Championship history, and utter dominance of rival teams over the last few years they must be ready for each opponent’s best effort. Come out and support the Lady Jays as they hope to bounce back this weekend and get back to their winning ways against Swarthmore.