This weekend, the 21st-ranked Hopkins men’s soccer team played 19th-ranked University of Mary Washington on Saturday and previously 12th-ranked (now unranked) Drew University on Sunday at Homewood Field.
Poor weather conditions made the grapple to victory all the grittier this weekend, as Homewood Field was showered with heavy rain and frigid winds throughout both games. As there was no sign of lightning, the games carried on while devoted fans and parents sought refuge under umbrellas and E-Z Up canopies. The Jays clawed determinedly through both games despite the downpour.
The first showdown between the Blue Jays and the University of Mary Washington Eagles since 1996 opened with a goal by Mary Washington’s forward Justin Carey. Hopkins quickly returned the goal at 35:00 with a penalty kick by senior center back Cole Rosenberger, his second goal of the season.
From there, the Jays held the score at 1-1, featuring impressive saves from sophomore goalie Xander LeFevre, who continued to block shots from Mary Washington’s midfielder Jacob Lovinger, midfielder Noah Mazzatenta and Carey, pushing the match into overtime. The overtime period started off with a valiant shot from sophomore midfielder Alejandro Maclean, but the Eagles made an impressive defensive effort to block his shot. Four minutes later, Mary Washington’s defender Lucas Turney crossed to Carey, who headed it in to end the game 2-1 in the Eagles’ favor.
On Sunday, the Jays boomeranged back and flew past the Drew University Rangers in a 2-1 win. Sophomore defender Nate Charendoff reflected on the weekend.
“Mary Washington was kind of a shock game for us. We definitely didn’t expect that result, but it allowed us to refocus as a team and prepare better mentally for the game against Drew, which I think played a big part in our success that day,” Charendoff said.
The first goal wasn’t scored until 23:44, when Drew forward Matt Asante tapped the ball into the Blue Jay goal, putting the Rangers up 0-1. The Jays were not discouraged though, as Maclean answered with the Hopkins’ first goal of the game at 30:56. For some, this could be interpreted as the turning point of the game.
Maclean reflected on this moment.
“I think being able to answer back with a quick goal was huge for us. We went down early with an undeserved goal, the weather conditions playing a huge part, but we were able to tie it up before halftime, which helped prepare us mentally for the second half,” Maclean said.
It was in the second half that the Jays pulled their wings over the eyes of the Rangers. At 64:59, Charendoff rifled the ball in off of a deflected free kick from sophomore midfielder Liam Creedon, bringing the Blue Jays up 2-1. It was Charendoff’s first career goal. The entire team flocked together in celebration in what would end up being the game-winning goal. Drew was unable to come back after that: Two of the Rangers’ three shots went wide, and one was saved by the Jays.
The win was a collective effort, as Hopkins put up three saves as a team.
Maclean commented on what makes this year’s team different than the last.
“I think the depth this year is even more evident than it was last year. Last year, we had good depth, but a lot of the players were new to the team. Now, having only lost four players, we have most of our players returning with at least a year of experience under their belts. I think everyone on the team can agree that we have confidence in any of the 27 guys on the roster to get on the field and do their job,” Maclean said.
This marks the Jays’ first win against Drew since 2004 and head coach Craig Appleby’s 150th career win.
Hopkins leaves the nest on Saturday, Sept. 15 to open Centennial Conference play against the Haverford College Fords.