Girls’ soccer: Hopkinton gearing up for playoff intensity after rolling over Sanborn on senior day
|Published: 10-11-2023 12:22 AM
CONTOOCOOK – Usually, an 8-1 win satisfies a head coach. But with the playoffs looming and Hopkinton poised to secure a top-four seed in Division III, head coach Mike Zahn needs the Hawks (12-1-1) to stay locked in.
On Tuesday, they were able to take advantage of an inferior opponent in Sanborn (3-9-0). Senior Keegan St. Cyr scored four goals, senior Katie Brown added two more and Elizabeth Holmes and Annie Morrall capped off the scoring with one goal apiece.
With two big matchups next week – against fourth-place Stevens and second-place Gilford – before the D-III playoffs begin, Zahn said playoff preparation for the Hawks starts on Thursday, after a Wednesday day off.
Here are three takeaways on the Hawks:
The senior duo dominated offensively, especially in the first half when they scored all five of the Hawks’ goals. They continually crashed the net, found open space and finished their shots.
“Keegan and Katie have been on varsity since they were freshmen, so just learning the ropes and just their athleticism helps them a lot,” Zahn said. “They’re both very strong and quick, and then just knowing the game helps them out quite a bit.”
Their quickness – and assistance from their teammates getting the ball up field – created a ton of scoring chances.
“The thing with us, if we can just keep the ball more and play possession to go forward, it helps us out quite a bit,” Zahn said. “It’s when we get into the kick-and-run that we don’t develop much offense.”
Although Hopkinton has one more regular season home game next week, the Hawks celebrated their seven-player senior class after Tuesday’s victory.
Five of the seven have played on the varsity team since their freshmen season, and at 12-1-1, the entire group isn’t quite ready to hang up the cleats just yet. Zahn’s also had the chance to coach several of them on the lacrosse team, so he’s shared many experiences with this group over the last four years.
“It’s been really nice to get to know them,” he said. “Developing a good relationship has been really fun for me.”
The 2024 class includes Tuesday’s goal-scorers St. Cyr, Brown and Holmes in addition to Sarah Chodosh, Ally Duval, Izzy Afflerbach and Greta Baker.
Games next week against Stevens (10-2-1) and Gilford (12-1-0) will decide if the Hawks finish as high as first in D-III or as low as fourth. Beyond just playing for seeding, it’s an opportunity for Hopkinton to measure up where it is relative to other top teams the Hawks will likely need to beat in order to take home a championship.
“Starting Thursday at practice, it’s playoff mentality,” Zahn said. “Stevens and Gilford the last week are playoff teams, and we need to gauge ourselves on if we’re where we want to be come playoffs. I want to win the last two. If we can do that, we’ll end up probably in second place, and that’s kind of where I want to be. I think the intensity just needs to be up there, and we need to be up there all game.”
The Hawks’ only loss this season came at the hands of Gilford back on Aug. 31. Next Friday at home will be their chance for some revenge.