Women’s soccer improved to 4-1-1 on Saturday with a win over Muhlenberg College, the Blue Jays’ Centennial Conference foe. Hopkins entered this game as the fourth-ranked team in the country, coming off a 2-2 draw against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), while the Muhlenberg Mules came into the matchup unranked with a 2-2-1 record, having just won a nail-biter 1-0 over Fairleigh Dickinson University Florham.
Early and often
Hopkins came out of the gates aggressively, scoring within the first five minutes of both halves. The first goal came in the second minute when a turnover in the Mules' half led to a quick goal for the Blue Jays. Midfielder Lilah Isenburg assisted defender Lily Gaston down the right side, beating the keeper from just inside the box to put the Blue Jays on top early.
Hopkins continued the pressure throughout the first half, taking 13 shots, while the Mules took none. Midfielder Megha Salvi and forward Katie Sullivan both forced saves out of the Muhlenberg goalkeeper. However, the breakthrough came in the 33rd minute when sophomore midfielder Natalie Smith scored from 30 yards out to extend the Blue Jays’ lead to 2-0.
Despite entering the break ahead by two goals, the Blue Jays did not ease off the gas, continuing to pile on with a goal just five minutes into the second half. The goal came courtesy of Sullivan, who broke into space and rifled a shot into the far corner past the Muhlenberg keeper. She continues to add to her stellar start of the 2023 season, netting a formidable seven goals and contributing one assist over the Blue Jays' first six games.
The Blue Jays stayed on the attack for the rest of the match, outshooting the Mules 23-3 over the course of the game. However, they were unable to net another goal before time expired, resulting in a final score of 3-0.
A strong start
Hopkins entered the 2023 season as the No. 1 team in the country. The Blue Jays went undefeated in the 2022 season, only tying two games all year and ending the season on a 21-game win streak to claim the national championship. This set expectations high for the 2023 season, and the Blue Jays have not disappointed — they are currently ranked fourth in the country and sport a solid 4-1-1 record.
Hopkins opened the season with a victory over Sewanee in dominant fashion, 3-0. They followed that up with another strong showing, beating Scranton comfortably by a 3-1 margin. The Blue Jays’ only loss came to the current No. 1 team in the country, Messiah University, who bested Hopkins 1-0 despite Hopkins outshooting them 10-8 and dominating second-half possession. The Blue Jays then rebounded with a 2-0 victory over Lynchburg before a 2-2 draw in a tough-fought matchup against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Then came this most recent victory over Muhlenberg, which was vital as the Blue Jays begin their string of conference play over the next month.
Hopkins is currently third in the Centennial Conference, trailing Swarthmore College and Dickinson College, who at the moment both sport a better record than the Blue Jays. However, the Blue Jays have played a particularly hard schedule, facing off against Messiah University and TCNJ, who are ranked 1st and 25th, respectively. The Blue Jays won the Centennial Conference in 2022 and have put themselves in a good position to repeat as conference champions in 2023.
The Blue Jays’ next week features two more marquee matchups, the first of which is against a strong 5-1 Dickinson College team in a vital Centennial Conference game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at Homewood Field. The Blue Jays then travel to Pennsylvania to finish off the week with another conference game, this time away at Ursinus College.