The Hopkins women’s soccer team, after racing out to a 2-0 start and a number three national ranking, faced a major test on September 5 against number five nationally ranked Messiah in a marquee matchup at Homewood Field.
Messiah raced out to a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute on a Nikki Elsaesser goal. In response, the Blue Jays began the second half with a golden opportunity to tie the game. Junior Christina Convey sped behind Falcon defenders on a breakaway but was stuffed at the goal-line by Messiah goalkeeper Audra Larson. The save proved to be a turning point in the match as Messiah would go on to dominate the middle of the field, tallying three more goals en route to a 4-0 shutout.
After an impressive 22-1 win-loss record in last season’s campaign, the loss to Messiah was the biggest goal differential for a loss in over a year. Junior Kylie Fuller, a key member of Hopkins’ defensive corps, explained, “fitness was a big factor in the second half. The score really doesn’t reflect the entire game, just the last twenty minutes.”
She later added, “I thought we outplayed them in the first half but couldn’t keep up that same intensity the entire game. Most of our returning players have only experienced winning, not being down early and then losing.”
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, their chance for
redemption came just three days later in Raleigh, N.C. against another high powered squad, number two ranked Emory University. In fact, Emory had defeated Messiah a week before its matchup with Hopkins.
Friday’s game was truly a tale of two halves as Hopkins scored two in the first half and Emory scored two in the second to end the game in a draw, 2-2. Fuller explained, “Again we had trouble finishing, but I think it’s a huge statement for our potential this year outplaying the number two team in the country.”
Junior Pamela Vranis scored the Blue Jays’ first goal in the early moments of the first half to take the lead on a cross from sophomore Hannah Kronick. Later, in the thirty-fifth minute, freshman Issy Berkey scored her first collegiate goal to stretch the lead to 2-0. Hopkins outshot Emory 9-3 in the first half, forcing goalkeeper Erica Stein to make four saves.
The Hopkins squad entered halftime with swagger and confidence, only to be outplayed in the second half and overtime periods. Emory outshot Hopkins 12-3 over the final 65 minutes ending the game in a 2-2 draw. Vranis said, “It seemed like a completely different game than the first half.”
Emory cut the lead 18 minutes into the second half, when Claudia Rowe beat senior goalkeeper Meredith Maguire. Emory’s Kelly Costopoulos tied the game with nine minutes remaining on a header from Charlotte Butker to stun the Jays and send the game into overtime. Hopkins failed to record a shot in both overtime periods, while Emory ripped four.
Luckily for the Jays, they had their second match scheduled in North Carolina the following day, with the hopes that they would not take the bus back to Baltimore winless.
Junior goalkeeper Kelly Leddy earned her first shutout of the season as Hopkins defeated Birmingham-Southern College 2-0. The Jays outshot Birmingham-Southern 8-1 in the first half, and broke through in the forty-third minute when senior Taylor Schulte beat Panthers netminder Richelle Byrd for the goal.
After the half, the Panthers came out strong, but Leddy and the rest of the Hopkins backfield were properly prepared, stifling the Panthers to earn the shutout. Sophomore Alyssa Conti Hopkins added an insurance goal in the final six minutes of the game.