The Blue Jays men’s soccer team kicked off their new season this weekend, defeating Hampden-Sydney College 3-1 on Friday and falling to the University of Mary Washington to start off the year with an even record of 1-1.
They were both tough road games that required a lot of effort from the Blue Jays, who were ranked 22nd going into the season. The games were played in Fredericksburg, Va. at Battleground Turf.
In the opening game of the season, Hopkins got off to an excellent and early start with junior midfielder R.J. Moore taking advantage of a loose pass by the opposition and sliding it past the Hampden-Sydney goalie, Gray Sutter. With only one touch, Moore was able to take a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute of the game.
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, the lead lasted only 11 minutes before Hampden-Sydney’s Jack Sweney scored on a deflected shot to tie up the match in the 26th minute. The match would remain scoreless until halftime.
Hopkins kept up the pressure, though, and just eight minutes after the second half started, the Jays took the lead again, this time on a headed goal by junior forward Pablo Martinez, who converted a cross from senior midfielder Liam Moylan in the 54th minute to give Hopkins a 2-1 lead, a goal that would eventually turn out to be the game winner for the Blue Jays.
Hopkins wasn’t done, though. The Jays added an insurance goal in the 68th minute when junior midfielder Nate Charendoff received a cross in the box from senior defender Connor Jacobs and slotted it into the back of the net, giving Hopkins the final goal in what would eventually finish as a 3-1 opening day victory.
The assist by Jacobs was the 12th in his Hopkins career, making him tied for 17th all-time in program history. The final score line was a good representative of the Blue Jay’s dominance in a game where they outshot their opponents 15-2 with seven shots on target and six corner kicks. Overall, the Hopkins offense was firing on all cylinders.
The Blue Jays’ next game didn’t go quite the same way, though. Hopkins did strike first when junior forward Jonathon Brown slipped in behind the Mary Washington defense and finished off a pass over the top from Moore, giving the Jays a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute. It was Moore’s 11th career assist.
The lead lasted past halftime, but was ultimately erased by Mary Washington’s Gabriel Soriano, who scored off of a cross from teammate Idrissa Barie.
Both teams tried to get the winning goal in regular time, but neither could find a way through and the game had to go to overtime. The overtime lacked much scoring overall but as time wound down in the first overtime, Mary Washington were able to get a few corner kicks in a row.
Finally, on their third attempt, they managed to bag the game winner with Ben Ahrens forcing in the corner from Soriano past Blue Jays junior keeper Xander LeFevre. The team clearly fought hard. LeFevre had five saves for Hopkins, but even his heroics weren’t enough to save the game.
This was a difficult one for the Jays, with Mary Washington outshooting Hopkins 14-4 and having seven shots on target compared to three by the Blue Jays. Mary Washington also had 10 corners, including the final three in overtime that eventually lead to the golden goal by Ahrens.
This team is a consistently tough opponent for the Blue Jays. Hopkins fell to 0-6-1 all-time against Mary Washington, this being their second straight overtime loss and fourth straight one goal defeat against the Eagles.
LeFevre gave some insight into the team’s outlook on how to recover from the loss.
“To bounce back I think we need to find that confidence and take a look at the fundamentals again,” he said. “We’re looking to go into this weekend on a good foot.”
The Blue Jays next two games are both this Saturday, where they will play Washington and Lee University before a rematch against Mary Washington later that same day.