The Hopkins men’s soccer team had a busy week, first travelling to Allentown, Pa. to take on the Muhlenberg College Mules in a Centennial Conference matchup and then hosting the No. 1 ranked team in the country, the Messiah College Falcons.
Hopkins was able to even up their Centennial Conference record with a 1-0 win over Muhlenberg on Saturday, thanks to the first goal of the season from junior defender Connor Jacobs.
On Monday against Messiah, the team started strong, scoring less than 30 seconds into the game, and then adding on to their lead early in the second half with another goal to put them up 2-0. The Falcons managed to claw back, however, and scored two late goals to eventually force a tie.
With such a strong defensive showing, shutting out the Mules and then holding the top ranked team in the country scoreless for a majority of the game, plus his first goal of the season, Jacobs is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
Jacobs is following up on a stellar 2017 campaign, during which he was named second team All-Centennial Conference and third team All-Mid-Atlantic. He started every game for the Blue Jays and was second on the team in assists. The Hopkins defense was also ranked third in the nation in goals against average and shutout percentage.
The News-Letter: How did it feel to score the only goal in the Muhlenberg game? Take us through the moments leading up to it.
Connor Jacobs: With it being my first goal of the season, it felt very good to be able to contribute offensively in such a close game. The goal happened because of a great pass from Nathaniel Charendoff. He crossed the ball into the box and I was unmarked because of an excellent run by Achim Younker to draw a defender away from me, giving me the opportunity to shoot.
NL: What were the keys for the team to bounce back in Conference play after the 0-2 start?
CJ: One big key is to just always be looking forward. We make sure to stay focused on the things we can control ahead of us so we don’t get caught up on past results.
NL: Going forward, what must the team focus on to continue this momentum?
CJ: We will continue to focus on growing together as a team and treating every day as an opportunity to get better.
NL: Since your freshman year, how have you developed and how have the team dynamics changed?
CJ: While the personnel of the team has changed since I was a freshman, Coach Appleby has always stressed the importance of our tactics and, since coming to Hopkins, I’ve definitely grown more comfortable in the specific role that I am assigned on the team.
NL: What are your personal goals and the team’s goals for the rest of the season?
CJ: I don’t have any personal goals but I do whatever it takes to help my team both offensively and defensively so that we can be successful. Our team really emphasizes feeling like a close-knit family so we try to achieve that goal and expand upon it every day we see each other.
NL: What are the biggest adjustments the team has to make following the game against Messiah?
CJ: We don’t see the need for too much adjusting. We follow a pretty consistent game plan for every game we play and we try to not let the other team influence that. We played a hard fought game and capitalized on our chances well.
NL: What does it mean for the team to have been so close to taking down the No. 1 team in the nation and how has the team’s attitude changed as a result?
CJ: We definitely are proud of the way we played and it shows that our team is capable of competing at the highest level. Our attitude has not changed, however. We treat all of our games the same and use them as an opportunity to learn and grow so this was just a very good test of where we are as a team right now and we stepped up well to the occasion. We will continue to play hard and focus on what we do best to continue to find success throughout the rest of the season.
Jacobs and the Blue Jays will continue Centennial Conference play this Saturday against Swarthmore College at 1 p.m. on Homewood Field.