By TARIQ OMER
The Hopkins field hockey team was in action this past Thursday when they traveled to Stockton University in New Jersey for their first competitive game against the Ospreys.
The hosts made a second half surge, coming back from behind to win the game 5-3 and snapping a four-game losing streak to improve to a record of 2-6.
This was the final non-Conference game the Lady Jays will play this season, and the result leaves them with a 4-5 record.
Hopkins started off the game in crisp fashion with senior Kiana Duncan putting the Lady Jays on the scoreboard after just 2:50 minutes with a powerful shot from the middle of the circle on an assist from freshman Grace Hillman.
This was Duncan’s first goal of the season and put Hopkins in the driver’s seat of the contest.
Duncan was exuberant after scoring since she was aware what it meant for her as well as the team.
“It was exciting, especially because it came so early in the game,” Duncan said. “We always want to score in the first five minutes, so I was just happy we put the ball in the cage.”
After the 15:34 mark, Hopkins put in its second goal of the game to double the lead when freshman Megan Ophel sprung on her own rebound and buried her first career goal for Hopkins.
Duncan and her teammates had high hopes after this, but were still aware that their competition could strike at any time.
“It was really good in the first half,” Duncan said. “We dominated until the last two minutes or so.”
The end of this dominance Duncan referred to was the goal that cut Hopkins’ lead in half just before the halftime whistle. Stockton’s Sarah Fisher finished off a play from sophomore Sarah Gawrysiak to put the Ospreys on the scoreboard for the first time that game.
Going in with the advantage at halftime, the Lady Jays had a mixture of confidence and vigilance on their minds.
“We were confident, but we knew that [the score] wasn’t enough to secure a win,” Duncan said. “One goal is never enough of a lead in field hockey to feel safe, and I think it gotthe best of us in the second half.”
Indeed, the second half was a different ballgame, as Stockton outscored Hopkins 4-1 to claim the win.
The comeback started just seven minutes after the second half began, with Stockton forward Alicia Belko claiming her own rebound and scoring to level the game at two apiece.
Following in her teammate’s example, Stockton’s sophomore Alexa Massa gave the Ospreys their first lead of the night when she took advantage of a penalty opportunity to set the score at 3-2, advantage Stockton.
Stockton, however, were not done there. Belko was able to double her tally for the night with her second goal, courtesy of a tipped shot off a cross from forward Leah Davies to double Stockton’s lead over Hopkins.
With just over 10 minutes of game time remaining, Massa followed her teammates to secure her own goal for the game, scoring her second penalty of the contest and leaving the Lady Jays with a three-goal deficit to overcome.
Hopkins sophomore Morgan Pothast gave the Lady Jays life at the 65th minute mark by cutting the lead to just two with a goal from the right side of the circle.
However, Stockton was able to hold out the rest of the game and win with a final score of 5-3.
“Our mentality sort of fell apart in the second half, and Stockton did a great job of capitalizing on our little mistakes,” Duncan said. “It’s always frustrating to lose, but I thing we took a lot away from that game as a team in terms of looking to do the little things in the game well and to really stay present, mentally, for the full 70 minutes.”
Duncan, a senior, often looks to support the younger members of the squad, especially after games like this.
“I mostly try to see how they are feeling about the game and see what we can fix as a team moving forward. I wouldn’t say it’s ever me ‘mentoring’ as much as it is an open conversation within the entire team,” Duncan said.
The Lady Jays would rally and finish the weekend off on a high note as they traveled to Pennsylvania to face off against Swarthmore College.
Hopkins brought the intensity as they hit the field with a force, scoring the first two goals of the game within a six-minute span of time.
Pothast once again put in work for the Jays as she hit the back of the goal with 11:11 on the clock. Junior Bridget Hampton added onto the score just a mere six minutes later.
Padding her stats, Pothast threw up an assist to freshman teammate Megan Ophel who threw in a goal at the 33:31-mark, making it her second total goal of the season.
With the Jays now up 3-0, the Garnet rallied, throwing up a point on the scoreboard only 20 seconds after Ophel’s score.
Neither teams would score the rest of the game, sealing a victory for the Lady Jays over the Garnet.
With this most recent win over Swarthmore, the Jays are now 17-7 all-time against the Garnet, with an impressive four game win streak hanging in the balance.
Hopkins is now 2-1 in the Centennial Conference, giving them ample room to move up or down, depending on play the rest of this season.
With eight games remaining in the schedule and every one of them being conference games, the Jays will have to work hard to ensure a victory each week in order to make it to the championship.
The Lady Jays take the field again on Saturday in Collegeville, Pa. when they take on the Bears of Ursinus College.