Feb. 1, 2012
With the graduation of one of the most successful classes in program history, the addition of 12 new faces to the team and a six-game road swing, the start of the 2011 season was a little bumpy for the Johns Hopkins men’s soccer team. But the Blue Jays figured some things out and lost just two games over a 13-game stretch en route to the regular season Centennial Conference title and the number one seed in the conference tournament. Hopkins finished the year at 10-5-3 for the 18th straight season with double-digit wins.
The Blue Jays opened the season with a tie with the Wesley Wolverines in the Goucher Soccer Classic. Freshman Mark Spencer’s first collegiate goal was the game-tying one as Hopkins dominated on the stat sheet, but couldn’t get more than one past the Wesley keeper. The offense came alive the following day as Hopkins rolled to a 7-0 win over host Goucher to take the tournament title. Senior Sean Coleman and sophomore Birin Padam scored back-to-back goals before the game was six minutes old and it was all Hopkins from there.
JHU hit a rough patch the following weekend as the Blue Jays traveled to the Jersey Shore for the Richard Stockton Seashore Classic. Hopkins lost a pair of tough 1-0 decisions to The College of New Jersey and host Richard Stockton. Hopkins rebounded in a mid-week contest at St. Mary’s as the Blue Jays got a goal in each half to defeat the previously unbeaten Seahawks, 2-1. Freshman Matt Carey and Coleman provided the offense, while freshman Nick Cerrone, making his first collegiate start, made six saves in the win. JHU hit the road to open Centennial Conference play and pulled out a 1-0 win at Haverford on an 89th-minute penalty kick goal from senior Corey Adams. It was the first of four straight shutouts for Cerrone, who would go on to post eight in his rookie season.
Hopkins finally opened up its home schedule on September 20 hosting rival York at Homewood Field. As befitting the heated rivalry, the two battled to a scoreless draw through 110 minutes – the fourth straight overtime in the series. The Blue Jays then hosted another rival, this time an in-conference rival, in the Muhlenberg Mules. Hopkins gained an advantage in the 31st minute when Muhlenberg’s leading scorer, Danny Way, was sent off after a straight red card. The Blue Jays were able to capitalize in the 44th minute when freshman Rob Heuler found classmate Kotaro Mitsuhashi near the top of the box. Mitsuhashi settled Heuler’s pass and blew a shot past Mules goalie Ari Nutovits, with what proved to be the game-winner, and his first collegiate goal. The Blue Jays held off a late Mule rally and Cerrone made a pair of saves to preserve the shutout as Hopkins handed Muhlenberg its first loss of the season.
The Blue Jays returned to the road for the first of four straight away from home as Hopkins traveled to the Battlefield to face another long-time rival in the Gettysburg Bullets. Cerrone and Bullets keeper Connor Darrell combined to make five saves and pitch a pair of shutouts as Hopkins and Gettysburg clashed in a scoreless draw, the sixth overtime game in the last 12 meetings. It was an outcome indicative of the series history as it was the 39th time the outcome had been decided by one goal or less.
Hopkins got back in the win column three days later with a 2-1 overtime win at Franklin & Marshall. Junior Nick White put the Blue Jays on the board in just the 12th minute, when he buried a low shot inside the far post. The Diplomats battled back and got the equalizer in the 75th minute off an Alex Grassi corner kick. So the teams headed to overtime, for the sixth time in the last seven meetings. Coleman provided the heroics in the 96th minute, when he took a feed from Heuler and then ripped a shot inside the far post from the top of the box. Cerrone earned the win, but had his shutout streak snapped at 496:37, the second longest by a freshman in school history.
Hopkins traveled to the Eastern Shore to take on 18th-ranked Salisbury in a mid-week non-conference battle. Trevor Shapre scored a pair of second-half goals for the Sea Gulls, who got five saves from Brandon Mumby, to earn the 2-0 win. Cerrone made a career-high six saves in his first loss of the season. Hopkins returned to conference play and its winning ways three days later with a 3-0 win at Ursinus. Coleman, sophomore Sam Glassman and Heuler all scored for the Blue Jays as they beat the Bears for the 16th straight year. The win closed out a stretch that saw the Blue Jays play 10 of its first 12 games away from Homewood Field. Hopkins would wrap up the regular season with four of five at home.
JHU returned home to face Dickinson and suffered a 3-0 loss to the eventual Centennial Conference Champion. The Blue Jays outshot the Red Devils, 16-9, but the play of keeper Cody Hickok, who finished with five saves, helped the visitors earn the win. The loss, Hopkins’ first conference setback of the season, seemingly knocked the Blue Jays from atop the Centennial Conference standings. But later that night, Ursinus stunned 14th-ranked Swarthmore, to keep Hopkins on top. JHU faced Neumann in both teams’ final non-conference game of the season on a Tuesday night at Homewood Field, with the Blue Jays defeating the Knights, 4-0. Coleman had a hand in all four goals for the Blue Jays scoring the eventual game-winner, then assisting on a pair of goals from juniors Brandon Sumpio and Matt Dunne, before capping the scoring in the 75th minute with a penalty kick goal. Cerrone made five saves to earn the shutout, including one on a Knights’ penalty kick in the 55th minute when it was still a one-goal game.
In a battle for first place in the Centennial Conference standings, Hopkins went into a hostile environment and beat 21st-ranked Swarthmore, 2-0, in front of a raucous Homecoming crowd at Clothier Field. Junior Taylor Woodrum banged home a Coleman corner kick in the sixth minute to put the Blue Jays on top early. Coleman would then add an insurance tally just 49 seconds into the second half and Cerrone made a pair of second-half saves, as Hopkins handed Swarthmore its first home conference loss since October 24, 2007. Hopkins returned home and looked to capitalize on the momentum of the win at Swarthmore as the Blue Jays hosted the McDaniel Green Terror. White put the home team on top when he chipped a shot over the head of Zach Nibbelink in the 10th minute. Carey then scored what seemed to be an insurance tally in the 86th minute after taking a pass from Mitsuhashi and rifling a shot past Nibbelink to give Hopkins a 2-0 lead. The tide quickly shifted however, as Mike McClain headed home a ball from Edgar Escobar less than a minute later to make it a 2-1 game. Another 46 seconds after that, the Green Terror were awarded a penalty kick for a handball in the box. Cerrone was there to make the stop, his second pk save this season, to keep the Blue Jays on top and they went on to win 2-1. The win clinched a first-round bye in the Centennial Conference Tournament and moved Hopkins one step closer to the top seed.
All Hopkins needed was a win in the regular-season finale and it would host the conference tournament for the first time in 2006. And on a night when the team honored its seniors, it was the freshmen that did the honors in leading Hopkins to a 2-0 win over Washington College. Heuler struck first for JHU in the eighth minute, banging home a loose ball in the box after a corner kick, for just his second goal of the season. Chris Phipps would do his best to keep the Shoremen in the game, making six saves over the course of the next 59 minutes, but Hopkins finally cashed in for the second time in the 67th minute to take a 2-0 lead. Senior Sean Duggan intercepted the ball in the Blue Jays’ end, raced up field and dished the ball off to Carey, who lofted a well-placed shot over Phipps for his third of the season. Cerrone would do his part in goal, making three saves for his eighth shutout of the season.
Six days later, Hopkins ran into a Haverford squad that was on a remarkable run in the Centennial Conference semifinals, having won seven straight and making its first-ever Centennial Conference Tournament appearance. Duggan nearly put the Blue Jays on the board with time winding down in the first half when he snuck a shot through traffic but Fords’ goalie Nick Kahn was able to hold on to the blast to send both teams into the half scoreless. Alejandro Rettig y Martinez put Haverford on top in the 48th minute when he corralled a loose ball in the box and slipped a shot under Cerrone from about six yards out. Hopkins quickly answered, knotting the score just two minutes later. Glassman made a great run up the right touchline and slid a pass between two Fords to Carey. He ran onto the pass and from the end line, crossed the ball into the box, where Mitsuhashi buried it over to make it a 1-1 game. Haverford retook the lead when a loose ball caromed to David Robinson, who one-timed a shot from 30 yards out, that just eluded a diving Cerrone and found the upper right corner in the 67th minute. Adams nearly forced overtime in the waning seconds when he controlled a loose ball and then ripped a shot from about 50 yards out, but it just missed wide and Haverford advanced to the conference title game.
Adams was later named the Centennial Conference Player of the Year, the fifth player from Hopkins to earn the honor and the first Blue Jay defender to do so. He was also a unanimous First Team All-Centennial Conference selection. Coleman, who finished as the team’s leading scorer, also earned first team all-conference accolades. Heuler was named to the Centennial Conference Second Team, while Duggan and Cerrone earned Honorable Mention honors. Head coach Craig Appleby was also named the Centennial Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Blue Jays to a 7-1-1 conference record. In addition, Coleman and classmate Drew Holland were named to the Capital One Academic All-America Teams, for their work in the classroom. Adams was named a First Team All-American by D3soccer.com as well as the ECAC South Defensive Player of the Year to wrap up the Blue Jays’ honors.