By MICHAEL POZO
During the week of Sept. 13, the Hopkins men’s soccer team played two competitive matches. Both games were decided by a one-goal margin and required the entire ninety minutes to resolve.
The first match took place on Wednesday, Sept. 16, as the Blue Jays faced off against the Spartans of York College, winning 1-0. The game occurred under the bright lights of Homewood Field and featured standout defensive play on both sides.
Going into the game, Hopkins had been winless against the Spartans in its past four matchups and was determined to come away with the victory.
Sophomore Michael Swiercz provided the Blue Jays with their first opportunity of the game in the 29th minute. Swiercz received a through ball from freshman Cole Rosenberger, but York goalie Charlie Johnson got enough of Swiercz’s shot to deflect it out of harm’s way. York responded with several quality opportunities of its own, but junior goalie Bryan See was there to block them all.
Hopkins got on the board in the 50th minute. Senior Andrew Park moved between a pair of defenders and rocketed a shot just inside the right post. Park’s second goal of the season put the Blue Jays up 1-0. The score would remain unchanged as the Hopkins defense held on for the close win.
On Saturday, Sept. 19, Hopkins hosted Haverford College Fords in what stood as the Centennial Conference opener for both teams. Like the York game, the match came down to a single goal and was very evenly matched.
The Fords got on the board in the 29th minute when senior Sam Yarosh knocked home a goal off a header from senior Brady Seitz. Hopkins fought to create plenty of its own opportunities to score, tallying 13 shots in total. Haverford goalie Sam Miller played an excellent game, however, and kept the Fords out ahead. The Jays would lose the match 1-0, extending Haverford’s winning streak over Hopkins to four.
Junior midfielder Samy Ramadane remains optimistic about the season and is confident in the team’s ability to succeed.
“We had two games this week, both of which we can learn a lot from. In our Wednesday game against York, we faced a disciplined and threatening side. We imposed our possession-oriented game upon our opponents and came out with a victory, setting the standard high for our level of play for the rest of the season,” Ramadane said.
“On Saturday, we faced Haverford, an aggressive and hungry side. Although we only gave the opposition a few chances to score, they capitalized upon a defensive miscommunication. We have adjusted to this tactical breakdown since and are using it as an opportunity for growth.”
On the outlook for the remainder of the season, Ramadane said, “We have a few goals this season; Our most absolute one for this season is to become Conference Champions. In doing so, we must realize some of our other goals, which include consistently bringing our highest level to each match, in terms of the technical, tactical, physical and mental aspects of the game.”
Hopkins is 4-3-1 on the season with the majority of its schedule still lying ahead. The Blue Jays will return to the field Saturday Sept. 26 when they travel up to Pennsylvania to face off against Swarthmore College Garnets. Ramadane believes that the team maintains all the qualities necessary for success and will use them this weekend.
“Besides the talent level on our team, every player is fully committed to our team values, creating a culture compatible with improvement and success,” he said.
This will be Hopkins’ second Centennial Conference game and will carry major implications in the conference standings going forward. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.