The third-ranked Hopkins men’s soccer team stormed their way to a 4-1 comeback victory over the Dickinson College Red Devils in the regular season finale for both teams. The Blue Jays finished the season with a 14-2-1 record, going 7-1-1 in the Centennial Conference.
The Jays fell behind early, as Dickinson’s Kevin Gilbert slid the ball past the Hopkins diving goalie, junior Xander LeFevre. Mohamed Kourouma finished off the pass to give Dickinson a 1-0 lead in only the third minute of play.
However, the lead didn’t last long. In the 12th minute, freshman forward and midfielder Axel Whamond took a shot from the left side of the box.
Dickinson’s goalie Frederick Meagher saved the shot, but the ball rebounded out to the right and junior forward Jonathon Brown put it back into the goal for the equalizer.
The game was tied at 1-1 until just after halftime. Less than five minutes after the second half began, Hopkins took the lead thanks to junior midfielder R.J. Moore. After a long ball from junior midfielder Julito Quintana, Brown gave Moore the perfect cross. Moore proceeded to crash the net, finishing off a great play, to give the Jays a 2-1 advantage.
Quintana explained his mentality during the game.
“I was calm and excited before the game,” he said. “Yeah, we knew Dickinson would be a good opponent and a good challenge for us. They are a spot below us in the Conference standings. We didn’t imagine them scoring so early, but when they did, we were all still confident we could pull out the win.”
This was only the start of a barrage from Quintana and Hopkins, though. Just four minutes later, he set up another goal, feeding junior midfielder Alejandro Maclean. Maclean turned and ripped the shot in from 28 yards away to give Hopkins a 3-1 lead in the 54th minute.
The Jays scored their final goal in the 60th minute to complete their onslaught. This time, Quintana sent another long ball over the Dickinson defense, a 45-yard pass that found Brown again, who slotted the ball inside of the right post after taking just one touch. This goal brought the score to 4-1 where it would stay until the end of the game.
Quintana looked back at what drove the team’s success during the game.
“Yeah, they scored very early, but when they scored our team kept our cool. Our team’s reaction to going down was to stick together, to our game plan, and stay composed,” he said. “I feel very good about the composure we kept, because it shows as a team we have a strong mentality and can come back from behind. It’s not the first time this season we won a game that we conceded in first, and this winning mentality is part of what makes our team good. We are confident in our ability and this confidence let us stay composed and keep playing our style.”
Hopkins improved to 36-17-5 against Dickinson all time and is now unbeaten in their last six appearances against the Red Devils. Hopkins outshot Dickinson 18-6 and also had a 3-1 advantage on corners. The two teams will meet again next week in the Centennial Conference semifinals. The Jays secured the number two overall seed in the conference. The only team seeded higher than Hopkins is the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats, who finished 8-1 in conference play, just one win higher than the Blue Jays.
Quintana looked toward the playoffs.
“Firstly, I am very proud of our team and how well we have done this season,” he said. “However, I know that the post-season is what matters and I am excited to see how well we can do. We have very high expectations and I am just thinking of winning every game, one at a time. We all really want and believe that we can win our Conference and the National Championship, so we will be working hard and preparing to achieve that.”
Quintana’s three assists were a career high for him, and only one shy of the Hopkins record. He is now first on the team with five assists this season. Brown’s two goals and one assist were a career high as well, and he now leads the team with five goals this year.