Strong offense gives field hockey 2-0 start

By MATTHEW RITCHIE | September 5, 2019

This past weekend the Hopkins women’s field hockey team opened up their season against two non-conference opponents. On Friday the squad traveled to Lexington, Va. to face off against the Washington and Lee University Generals. Two days later, they hosted their first home matchup of the season, squaring off against the University of Mary Washington Eagles. 

For the 2019 season, the timing of the games switched from two 35-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters, increasing the pace and speed of the game. In their first game playing in this new format, the Jays looked right at home. 

For much of the first two quarters against the Generals, it was business as usual, as Hopkins controlled the ball. In the first half the Jays outshot the host 11-3 and forced four corners to their one. They were creating opportunity after opportunity, ringing shots off like it was a pre-game shootaround. 

The Generals were only able to get any sort of offense from the counterattack, a sign that they weren’t getting any tangible chances because of the swarming Jays pressure. However, even with the unbalanced level of play, we were left without a goal by the end of the first half. Although there was a stalemate, there was a feeling throughout the field that Hopkins would break through sooner rather than later. 

Sure enough, the first goal came halfway through the third quarter, as freshman forward/midfielder Sadie Abboud found sophomore forward Megan Abate with a pinpoint pass from the baseline, and she rifled it in to break the tie. The goal was not only significant because it gave the Jays the lead, but also because it was Abate’s first career goal. However, no less than 20 seconds later, the Generals evened it up on a counterattack goal by forward Grace Amaden. 

Hopkins kept the offensive push going after the equalizer, continuing to pepper the Generals’ goalie with shots. Just when it seemed as though the game was heading to overtime, Abboud sliced through the opposing defense and buried a shot into the back of the net to take a 2-1 lead with two minutes and 31 seconds left. Her first career goal was enough to propel the Jays across the finish line, securing the season opening victory. 

This victory pushed Hopkins’ all-time record against Washington and Lee to 15-1 and improved to 3-0 in season openers under their head coach Jane Wells.

Looking to continue their hot streak, the Jays hosted the Mary Washington Eagles, who they held a losing record against in the all-time matchup. Sophomore forward Izzy Thompson understood the importance of starting strong this season. 

“Coming off of such a successful season last year, it was very important for our team to start the year off strong,” Thompson said. “The early wins this season were definitely reflections of the discipline and hard work put in during preseason practices.”

This game followed the same vein of the previous game, with Hopkins controlling the pace and possession. In the first quarter, they outshot the Eagles seven to zero, a true sign of their domination. Even though the quarter ended with no score, it was apparent that the Jays were slated to score. 

Early into the second quarter, Hopkins finally broke through thanks to a wonderfully worked goal that ended with a redirection by Thompson off of an upper corner strike from junior forward Michaela Corvi. It was Thompson’s first goal and Corvi’s first assist of the season, a connection that should continue to be very successful this season.

As the Jays continued to control the matchup, the only opportunities that the Eagles could grasp onto were on the counterattack. Throughout the entire game, they were only able to muster five shots (four on target) to the Jays’ 35 (17 on target). 

However, with 12:47 left to play in the third quarter, Mary Washington was able to sneak one by senior goalie Jodie Baris off of a deflection, which evened the score at 1-1. 

Luckily, it didn’t take long for Hopkins to respond. A long pass from senior midfielder Katie McErlean to freshman forward Tessa Erickson, from which she was able to create space from the defense, led to a shot on goal. Thompson, who was placed perfectly in front of the cage, tipped the shot past the goalie to put the Jays up 2-1. 

This proved to be the deciding blow as they would go on to win by a one goal margin. Thompson pointed to the outstanding depth that the team holds this year as a key to victory. 

“We were able to utilize the depth we have in the roster by subbing when needed while still keeping our level of play up through the entirety of the game,” she said. “A big factor for this was our very talented class of first-year players.” 

Hopkins will look to continue their hot start when they face off against the Randolph-Macon College Yellow Jackets on Friday, Sept. 6 at Homewood Field. 

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