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Field hockey picks up key conference victory

By ESTHER HONG | October 4, 2018

HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The field hockey team is undefeated in Conference play this year.

The 17th-ranked field hockey team continues to prove its dominance in the Centennial Conference as it defeated the Haverford College Fords with two first-half goals on Saturday. Although the Fords made the game close in the second half, the Blue Jays finished out the game strong defensively, resulting in a 2-1 final score. 

Freshman defender Sarah Matyas commented on the strong start.

“I thought our intensity at the start was great. We always try to control the game right away by putting pressure on the other team and setting the pace,“ Matyas said. 

A little over seven minutes into the game, freshman forward Izzy Thompson started off the scoring. Sophomore midfielder Seema Sajjan put in a penalty corner to sophomore forward Michaela Corvi, who took a tough shot. Luckily, Thompson placed herself in the right spot to redirect Corvi’s shot into the goal. Hopkins led 1-0 with plenty of game time left. 

Plenty of game time meant more opportunities for Hopkins to score. The team quickly seized the opportunity just over eight minutes after Thompson’s goal. The Jays were able to successfully convert yet another corner. Junior midfielder Katie McErlean took the ball and fired a shot. Haverford’s goalkeeper was able to block McErlean’s shot but unable to block freshman midfielder Maddie Brown-Scherer’s shot of the rebound. The score was now 2-0 at the 15-minute mark. 

The Fords went on a quick offensive surge, blasting three shots in nine seconds. Junior goalie Jodie Baris made impressive defensive moves, blocking all three shots. However, the Fords continued to test the Hopkins defense and were able to find a hole to put one in.

Matyas reflected on the course of the game.

“We fell a little flat during the second half, but we continued to try to get the ball upfield. We were able to focus on things we’ve been working on in practice and apply them to game situations, but there’s always room for us to improve,” Matyas said. “We only have a few weeks left in the season, and everyone is doing their best in training to put in hard work with the limited amount of time we have left.”

With the clock reading 66:54, the score was now 2-1, with the Jays still leading the game. Despite several other shot attempts from both teams, neither team was able to score, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 victory against the Fords.

“Our communication and willingness to work hard have played huge roles in our success so far. We push each other in training constantly to be the best we can be and are always supporting each other when we make a mistake. The team environment is very competitive, but we are united in our goals and work together to try and accomplish them,“ Matyas said.

Hopkins has historically dominated the Fords, as they improve their all-time record against them to 31-9-1 after Saturday night’s game. This game also marks the third straight victory for Hopkins in this series. However, despite the three-peat, all three games were decided by just one goal. 

The Blue Jays improve their record to 8-1, which is the program’s best start since the 2008 season, when Hopkins went on an 11-0 streak to start the season. 

Several Blue Jays had impressive performances on Saturday. Thompson is now tied with Corvi and freshman midfielder Abby Birk for the most goals this season. All of them currently have four goals and will look to grab more throughout the remainder of the season to help the team’s offensive game. Corvi also has three assists on the season, which now leads the team and is her career-best. 

With two of the three top scorers for the Blue Jays being freshmen, the team has worked to foster an environment in which even first-year team members are expected to contribute.

“As a freshman, I don’t have to worry about being afraid to ask questions or voice my opinion, both of which are well-respected by the team and coaches. My input is valued, and I really appreciate being able to be heard,“ Matyas said.

Matyas also emphasized how the team’s efforts in building a solid culture have had a large impact on the team’s success.

“The team always made sure we knew they had our backs and were there to support us; it was like I never left home,“ Matyas said. “Although it’s only been a month and a half, we’re a family and we genuinely love spending time together. I think our chemistry has definitely played a role with our success this season.”

The Jays return to gameplay on Saturday, Oct. 6, as they travel to Muhlenberg College for another Centennial Conference matchup.

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