This past Saturday, the 17th-ranked field hockey team traveled to the Swarthmore College Garnet. The trip was worth the two-hour, early-morning drive as the Blue Jays came home with another Centennial Conference victory. Along with the team’s dominant offensive efforts, the Hopkins defense kept the Garnet at zero successful shots, as the final score read 4-0.
The success could be attributed to just a couple of key factors, according to freshman forward Izzy Thompson.
“We were able to capitalize on our scoring opportunities and corners leading us to a 4-0 win. Jodie Baris, our [junior] goalkeeper, saved seven in order to shutout Swat,“ Thompson said.
The Blue Jays came out with urgency, as freshman midfielder Abby Birk did not allow more than two minutes of the game to pass before scoring the first goal for Hopkins. Freshman defender Sarah Matyas took advantage of the penalty corner, as she grabbed the ball and took an aggressive shot at the goal. The shot was saved by the Garnet’s goalie Zelda Bank, but she lost control, allowing Birk to drive into the play and poke the rebound in.
Swarthmore went on an offensive surge, but none of their shots could get past Baris. Hopkins was able to regain possession after a few scramble plays by the Hopkins goal and took the ball all the way home. Junior midfielder Katie McErlean took a shot that was initially blocked by one of Swarthmore’s defenders. Luckily, Thompson was in the middle of the action and buried the rebound into the goal. The Jays led 2-0 just over 18 minutes into the game.
The Garnet once again tried to get onto the scoreboard, but the Jays ended up coming out with the next goal. McErlean dribbled past the Swarthmore defenders and took a shot. This time the ball quickly blew past Banks to give Hopkins the 3-0 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.
Quickly coming out of halftime, Thompson scored her second goal of the game. She battled a loose rebound off of Banks near the goal to push it in. The Blue Jays had a 4-0 advantage and ended up sustaining this lead for the remainder of the game.
This is the second consecutive time Thompson has scored two goals in one game, and she now leads the team with 10 goals on the season. She is just one goal shy of the school record for goals by a freshman in one season. Baris led the defensive game, as she finished the day with seven saves and her sixth shutout of the season. She is tied for 10th in school history for shutouts.
Hopkins has a 20-7 all-time record against the Garnet and has won the last seven matchups. Even more impressive is that the Jays have shut out Swarthmore in their last three meetings and have allowed them to score only one goal in their last five meetings combined.
The Blue Jays have extended their win streak to eight games, the longest since the 2008 season. In addition, this year’s 12-1 start ties for the best start with the 2008 team, making the current 2018 team and the 2008 team the only two to have a 12-1 start in school history.
With only three games left in Centennial Conference play, Hopkins is first in the standings and looks to defend its first-place finish in the regular season from last year. With Saturday’s victory, the Jays have solidified a spot in the Centennial Conference Playoffs.
The Blue Jays still have a tough schedule ahead of them, as they still have to face off against the teams in second and third place in the Conference in Ursinus College and Franklin & Marshall College.
Saturday’s victory was another validating step toward achieving the team’s overarching goal.
“Our main team goal is to play a full 70 minutes of strong smart hockey. We call it ‘Hopkins Hockey,‘ which basically means playing with quickness, game intelligence and high communication,“ Thompson said.
Thompson explained that the goal to execute “Hopkins Hockey” during games starts in training.
“To achieve this goal, our team focuses on practicing with high intensity and competitiveness,“ Thompson said. “We challenge and provide feedback for each other to make ourselves better individually and as a group. We hope to practice at the same level that we compete at in a game.”
The Jays will return to Homewood Field on Saturday, Oct. 20 to host the Ursinus College Bears.