“Everybody knows that a hopper beats a lion in a fight,” senior and men’s varsity co-captain Theo Burns wrote in an email to the entire high school. The email was delivered on Sept. 13, as Burns advertised the team’s third game of the season, which was against St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Burns’ email proved true when the Hoppers earned their first win of the season in front of a home crowd that filled the bleachers. The Hoppers were in control of the game, cruising to a 3–1 victory over the Lions.
Senior and co-captain Nico Greene started the game with a goal in the seventh minute from a penalty kick, thanks to a foul against sophomore Thomas “TJ” Jones in the 18-yard box.
In the 30th minute, senior Christian Charles dribbled the ball deep into St. Andrews’ half, with junior Zach Henderson running parallel to him. Once Charles got to the edge of the 18-yard box, he passed to Henderson in the middle of the box. The junior scored his first goal of the season, and his first on the varsity team, to give GDS a 2–0 lead.
In the 35th minute, Jones dribbled the ball down the right side of the field, beating his defenders and earning a one-on-one with the goalie. He laid a shot in the bottom left of the goal to give GDS a 3–0 lead going into halftime.
GDS did not score in the second half, though the Hoppers always maintained a comfortable lead. The lone St. Andrew’s goal came in the 75th minute from a penalty kick. The Hoppers kept the Lions scoreless for the final five minutes and stoppage time as they secured their first win of the season.
Assistant coach James Elish spoke highly of the team’s performance. “The team came out with the appropriate intensity and intent today,” Elish said. “All of our league games are going to be at a high intensity, and we certainly set a good tone, especially in the first half.”
“We know we’re better than them,” Burns said, referring to the St. Andrew’s team. He also noted that the Hoppers “played great” and “worked together.”
“We’ve got a great team here,” freshman midfielder Nathan Tureck said. “It’s really fun just to play at a high level.” Tureck added that “it’s nice to meet all the upperclassmen.”
Elish noted the importance of the senior leadership on the team. “One of the things that we have often is talent, but rarer is leadership and commitment,” he said. Elish said that the seniors and team captains did a good job of “holding people accountable” and “creating that peer-to-peer accountability.”
The team’s next game will be at GDS on Tuesday, Sept. 19 against Sidwell Friends School.