HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The Jays beat SUNY Geneseo but were defeated by Williams College.
After defeating Wilkes University in the second round of the NCAA Division-III Women’s Soccer Tournament, the Hopkins women’s soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in program history. Hopkins headed to Williamstown, Mass. to face the SUNY Geneseo Knights.
Junior defender Toni Abate was recently placed on the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District II Team.
“This year was the best team soccer I have seen us play,” she said. “Every player had a large impact on our success.”
The Jays got off to a strong start, striking first in the 11th minute. After receiving a pass from senior forward Bailey Monaco, freshman forward Riley O’Toole sent a shot to the back of the net, which was all Hopkins needed.
Two saves from senior goalie Bess Kitzmiller allowed the Blue Jays to maintain a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Hopkins dominated the second half, outshooting the Knights 9-2.
In the 59th minute, O’Toole netted another goal to put Hopkins up 2-0. The two goals were O’Toole’s 14th and 15th of the season, seven of which have been game-winners.
Another goalless half from Kitzmiller secured the shutout and the win for the Jays. It was the team’s 15th shutout ever in a NCAA Tournament game.
The victory sent Hopkins to its sixth NCAA Quarterfinals in school history, all of which have come since 2009. The Jays faced home team and sixth-ranked Williams College Ephs.
The Ephs got off to an early lead, scoring in the 17th minute. The goal came off the foot of junior Natalie Turner-Wyatt. Early shot attempts by Abate, sophomore midfielder Carly Lupton-Smith and sophomore midfielder Maggie Coulson were all stopped by the Ephs defense.
Sophomore forward Maddy Rocks had the Jays’ first shot on goal, which was saved by Ephs’ junior Olivia Barnhill, and Hopkins headed into the half trailing 1-0.
Williams came out firing after the halftime break, scoring two quick goals, one in the 53rd minute and one in the 58th. Both came from senior Natasha Albaneze off of assists from Turner-Wyatt, giving Williams a 3-0 lead. This marks only the second time this season that the Blue Jays have allowed three goals in a game.
Hopkins had a good look in the 64th minute when O’Toole ripped a shot of her own, which Barnhill was again able to stop. The Jays had another scoring opportunity in the 72nd minute when senior forward Michelle Santangelo stepped up for a penalty kick, which ended up going wide.
The three-goal deficit ended up being too difficult to come back from, as the Jays would ultimately fall to the Ephs 3-0.
However, the Jays fought hard, outshooting the Ephs 19-14 and taking 10 corner kicks, while Williams only had one. This is the second consecutive season that Williams has knocked Hopkins out of the tournament.
“I am super proud of our team’s tournament run,” Abate said. “Although of course I wish we went deeper into the tournament, the team played great soccer in every game. We left it all out on the field.”
The Blue Jays finished the season with a record of 18-3-3 and were one win short of making the school’s second ever appearance in the NCAA Final Four.
Abate expressed her appreciation for what the seniors have done throughout their successful careers at Hopkins.
“The senior class has set a great example for how to lead the team on and off the field,” said Abate. “They’ve pushed me to be a better player and person. Our goals are to keep working hard to prepare for spring games and for next season.”
As for next year, the team knows what they have to do to have another successful season.