HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The men’s soccer team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Hopkins men’s soccer team hosted the Centennial Conference Championship Tournament this past weekend at Homewood Field. On Friday evening, the Blue Jays kicked off their tournament run, taking on the fifth-seeded Dickinson College Red Devils for the second week in a row, this time in the semi-final round of the Conference Tournament.
After beating the Red Devils 3-0 the previous weekend to secure home-field advantage in the Centennial Tournament, things were looking bright for the now 23rd-ranked and top-seeded Blue Jays.
Unfortunately, Friday’s match did not end as expected. After tying 2-2 in regulation and playing two scoreless rounds of overtime, the Blue Jays fell to the Red Devils 4-2 in a shootout.
Dickinson took the lead early in the match, scoring on the host team in just the 11th minute of the game.
However, the Blue Jays were quick to respond, as senior defender Jonah Muniz ran the ball down the right side before crossing it into the box. Freshman midfielder RJ Moore deflected Muniz’s pass toward the goal, and sophomore forward Liam Moylan finished it off for the Jays, burying the ball past the Red Devils’ goalkeeper to tie the score at 1-1.
Moore’s assist was his ninth of the season, which ties the Centennial Conference record for assists by a freshman, set in 1994.
Early in the second half, the Blue Jays drew a penalty kick, which was taken by senior midfielder Mike Swiercz. Swiercz found the back of the Red Devils’ goal, putting Hopkins up 2-1 in the 48th minute of the game.
The Red Devils had the last goal of regulation in the 74th minute of play to tie the game at 2-2. After two overtime periods, the score remained locked at two all, and the match-up would be decided in a shootout.
Dickinson took out goalie John Baney, who had been covering the net since the start of the game, and put in goalie Frederick Meagher, coming in at six feet and six inches. Meagher would save both of the Blue Jays’ first two shots, while the Red Devils made both of theirs, going up 2-0 after two rounds.
After both teams made their next two shots, Dickinson went up 4-2 to claim the win against the first-seeded Hopkins team.
Despite getting edged out by Hopkins in both shots (16-15) and corners (4-3), Dickinson came out victorious to move on to the final round of the Centennial Conference Tournament that Sunday on Homewood Field.
Still, the Blue Jays got a chance to extend their season with an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“We want a chance to redeem ourselves,” Muniz said. “It feels really good that we will be able to do that.”
On Monday, it was announced that the Blue Jays received their bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010. They will face off against the DeSales University Bulldogs in the first round of the Tournament this Saturday.
The Blue Jays and the Bulldogs will meet for the fourth time, and Hopkins leads the series 3-0. The last time the two met was in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007 at Homewood Field, which the Blue Jays won 1-0 in overtime.
DeSales enters the tournament coming off a Mid-Atlantic Conference Freedom Championship, which they won over Eastern University 4-3 in penalty kicks. Saturday will be the Bulldogs’ first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011.
The winner of the first round will move on to face the winner of the Rowan University-Cabrini College matchup in the regional final, which will be held the following day.
Rowan University will host the tournament this Saturday. The Blue Jays and the Bulldogs will take to the field at 6:30 p.m.