This past Saturday, the Hopkins field hockey team had a chance to get back on track, hosting The Catholic University of America Cardinals. After suffering their first loss of the season in a nail-biter to the Christopher Newport University (CNU) Captains, they were looking to right the ship against another non-Conference opponent.
Sophomore midfielder Abby Birk outlined the keys to the game as the Jays looked to restart their winning streak.
“After our loss to CNU on Saturday, we identified multiple areas of our game where we needed to improve and talked as a team about what steps we needed to take in practice to make these adjustments,” she said. “We had a great week of practice leading up to the Catholic game, where we worked really hard and focused on these adjustments.”
The adjustments seemed to be working, with Hopkins securing an early scoring opportunity as the Cardinal goalie laid on the ball, forcing a penalty stroke. Senior midfielder Katie McErlean came on and drilled the penalty stroke, netting her first goal of the season. The hot start got even better for the Jays, as just 31 seconds later, sophomore midfielder Abby Birk centered a pass to fellow sophomore midfielder Myra Granato, who found the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
If those goals weren’t enough, less than a minute after Granato’s first career goal, sophomore forward Maddie Brown-Scherer sliced through the Cardinal defense and beat the goalie once again, pushing the lead to 3-0. The Jays were uber-efficient in the first quarter, putting up three goals on the first four shots.
The scintillating start continued in the second quarter, as Brown-Scherer scored once again. Birk found her with a cross and she slotted the one-time shot into the far left post. That goal marked Brown-Scherer’s fifth goal of the season and gave Birk her fourth assist on the campaign, both good enough for the team lead, respectively.
The sophomore midfielder gave some insight as to why she’s been such a problem for opposing defenses as a distributor.
“Playing in the midfield, I generally have an attacking mindset, so my goal is always to get the ball into our attacking circle so that we can have a good opportunity to score,” Birk said. “This season the midfielders have all been working on having better shots and passes into the circle that put the forwards in the best position to score.”
The first half was a story of domination, as the Jays held the Cardinals to just one shot in the first two quarters to their nine. The start of the second half featured much of the same, with junior midfielder Michaela Corvi scoring an impressive goal off of a pass from Brown-Scherer, slotting it under the Catholic goalie’s feet and just inside the left post. With that goal, Corvi, who was second on the team in assists and third in points last season, was able to get her first goal of the season.
That goal pushed the lead to five in the third quarter, which featured yet another 15 minutes of domination.
The Hopkins defense continued to apply pressure, not allowing the Cardinals to fire off a single shot for the rest of the game. Similarly, the Jays’ offense continued firing on all cylinders, drawing five corners and rattling off five shots.
The final blow came in the fourth quarter with 4:23 left to play. Sophomore forward Megan Abate pounced on a rebound off of a blocked shot and buried it into the net for her second goal of the season.
That would be all she wrote for the Cardinals, as the final score ended up at 6-0. Hopkins improved their record against Catholic to 21-4-1 all-time. They also gave head coach Jane Wells her 37th career win at Hopkins, tying her for third on the program’s win list.
Birk provided some insight as to why the Blue Jays were so successful against their opponents on Saturday.
“I think the biggest keys to success for us against Catholic were our energy, possession and finishing,” she said. “We had great energy in the locker room before the game, and I think that showed when we came out and started so strong in the first quarter.”
The Jays will begin their Centennial Conference schedule this Saturday, as they host the Bryn Mawr College Owls at 12 p.m. on Homewood Field.