Advertisement

Johns Hopkins women's soccer to face familiar opponent in Friday's NCAA tournament semifinal

Johns Hopkins women's soccer to face familiar opponent in Friday's NCAA tournament semifinal

Through the first four rounds of the NCAA Division III tournament, Johns Hopkins clashed with just one opponent it had met in the past, disposing of Farmingdale State, 4-0, in the first round on Nov. 15.

But after defeating SUNY Geneseo, No. 6 Carnegie Mellon and No. 9 Thomas More, the No. 20 Blue Jays will make their first appearance in the Final Four against a familiar opponent.

Advertisement

Johns Hopkins (19-3-2) will tangle with No. 5 Williams (20-1-1) Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City. The two sides last met on Nov. 23, 2013 in the Sweet Sixteen when the Blue Jays nipped the Ephs, 1-0, in double overtime.

Senior forward Hannah Kronick, Johns Hopkins' all-time leader in goals and points, said the familiarity should be a blessing.

"It was good for us in terms of we know how they play and we know some of their players as opposed to a team that we've never met before," she said Tuesday morning. "But at the same time, we were a different team last year and so were they. So I think it will definitely be a totally different game."

Coach Leo Weil agreed, saying, "I think it can help us in a couple senses. We know that they're a very good team. They played very well last year, and I thought that if they weren't the best team we played, they were certainly one of the best. … I think that should give us some confidence going into the game on Friday. And I keep telling them that I haven't seen anybody this year that is better than us. If we play anywhere near our potential, I think we'll be fine."

Williams has leaned on a pair of sophomores in forward Kristi Kirshe (18 goals and five assists) and midfielder Audrey Thomas (16, 5) to provide most of the scoring punch, and senior goalkeeper Hannah Van Wetter has surrendered just 10 goals this fall.

Senior defender Emily Nagourney said she anticipates an Ephs squad eager to avenge last year's loss to the Blue Jays.

"That was their last game," Nagourney said. "So for everyone who was there last year, that's not something that goes away. I think just as in the same way that losing [to Middlebury in the Elite Eight] with 17 seconds left motivated us this year, that's just as motivating for us. We know we can do it. We just have to keep fighting."

Advertisement
Advertisement