Tenth-ranked W. Soccer secures spot in playoffs

By GREG MELICK | October 19, 2017

The Hopkins women’s soccer team continued their torrid pace with two more wins this past week, beating the McDaniel College Green Terror earlier on the road and then beating Centennial Conference rival, the Swarthmore College Garnet, on Saturday at home. The two wins guaranteed the Jays a spot in the Conference Tournament.

“We are looking to finish undefeated in Conference play and host the Conference Tournament,” sophomore goalie Robyn Lipschultz said.

The Blue Jays’ game against McDaniel was evenly matched for the first half of play, as the teams went back and forth, with McDaniel narrowly edging out the Jays in shots (5-4). Two big saves by Lipschultz held the Terror scoreless.

On the offensive side, freshman midfielder Jesse Cole scored her first collegiate goal from the top of the box with just under three minutes left in the first half.

The second half was not lacking of opportunities, however, as the Blue Jays managed to get nine shots in the half, though they were unable to put any of them home. On the other side, the defense only allowed four shots.

The win was made more impressive by the battle against the elements, as McDaniel’s grass field was bogged down by the rain, making for a very different surface than the turf the Jays are accustomed to playing on at Homewood.

“We had to adapt to the field conditions of playing in the rain and on grass, which makes getting a good touch tricky,” Lipschultz said.

Hopkins returned home Saturday for a game against the 23rd-ranked Garnet.

At the start of the game, Swarthmore earned an early penalty kick just 15 minutes in. Fortunately for the Jays, senior goalie Bess Kitzmiller made an outstanding kick save to keep the Garnet from getting the early lead.

The Jays then responded with a goal from sophomore midfielder Emily Maheras, who used some fancy footwork, threading the ball just inside the far post to put Hopkins up after 32 minutes of play.

Hopkins secured the win with a goal by senior forward Michelle Santangelo. The shutout was the 10th of the year for Hopkins.

“The defense plays best when we are all providing support and are on the same page. The defensive effort from forwards and midfielders really contributes to our performance as well,” junior defender Toni Abate said.

That defensive effort from all the players on the field, along with an outstanding individual performance, resulted in Lipschultz being awarded the Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week. In five starts this year, Lipschultz has not allowed a single goal.

Going forward, Hopkins will continue to rely on their defense to win them games, and if they continue to play at this level, they have a very good chance of making a deep run in the playoffs.

“Come playoffs, consistency will be key to protecting our net and earning chances up top. We have done it already this season and are definitely capable of doing it again,” Abate said.

In the most recent poll, Hopkins has moved up to 10th in the country. If they can finish out the season strong, they have a very real chance of not just hosting the Conference Tournament but the NCAA Tournament as well.

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