Boys soccer: Hopkins Academy, Gateway play to another 2-2 draw (PHOTOS)

Hopkins Academy’s Nicholas Uchneat (15), right, and Gateway’s David Nedeoglo (42) battle for possession during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy’s Nicholas Uchneat (15), right, and Gateway’s David Nedeoglo (42) battle for possession during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy’s  Lucas Cabral Dasilva (8), right, dribbles past Gateway’s Roan Boeri (31) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy’s  Lucas Cabral Dasilva (8), right, dribbles past Gateway’s Roan Boeri (31) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Gateway’s Ivan Chepurenko (40), left, is defended by Hopkins Academy’s Nick Cain (14) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley.

Gateway’s Ivan Chepurenko (40), left, is defended by Hopkins Academy’s Nick Cain (14) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy’s Chace Earle (4), right, looks to make a pass while defended by Gateway’s Bow Briggs (45) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy’s Chace Earle (4), right, looks to make a pass while defended by Gateway’s Bow Briggs (45) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hopkins Academy’s Neil McFarlane (9), right, traps the ball in front of Gateway’s Bow Briggs (45) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley.

Hopkins Academy’s Neil McFarlane (9), right, traps the ball in front of Gateway’s Bow Briggs (45) during the teams’ 2-2 draw on Monday in Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By HANNAH BEVIS

Staff Writer 

Published: 10-16-2023 7:37 PM

HADLEY — Monday’s rematch between the Gateway and Hopkins Academy boys soccer teams was a tale of two teams.

Hopkins controlled the pace for the majority of the game, generating chance after chance that the Golden Hawks just weren’t able to put away. Gateway had to rely on its defense and stellar goaltending from freshman Zach Hess and didn’t have as many opportunities, but the chances the visitors did get, they were able to convert on. 

As a result, Hopkins and Gateway (2-8-2) played to a 2-2 draw, the same scoreline from the last time the two teams faced off on Sept. 22. 

“I think both teams are a little more refined, for sure,” Gateway head coach Andrew McCaul said. “They definitely had better opportunities than we did today. We were fortunate where we were able to take advantage of the few opportunities we had today….we defended really well. Our goalie played really, really well today.”

Hess was a monster in net for the Gators, making more than a dozen saves, many at key moments during the contest to keep things close. Gateway (2-8-2) took advantage of those saves near the end of the first half, striking first on an unassisted goal from Elijah Chepurenko to take a 1-0 lead going into halftime.

Needing an answer, Hopkins (2-6-5) pressed hard to start the second half, and the hosts were eventually rewarded by a goal from Tresor Akimana. He took a pass from teammate Chace Earle and raced up the right side, firing a hard shot upstairs that tied the game 1-1. 

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Less than a minute after Akimana’s goal, the Golden Hawks struck again. Nathan Rickles found Lucas Cabral Dasilva with a gorgeous cross; Rickles corralled the ball near the right corner and fired a pass that found Cabral DaSilva wide open dead center in front of the goal, where he finished easily to give Hopkins a 2-1 lead. The Golden Hawks went wild, boosting the team’s energy and quickly shifting the momentum. 

“I just trust my teammates so much that when I put a ball in there, they'll score and I just got really excited because that's the things we need to execute,” Rickles said. 

Down 2-1, Gateway needed an equalizer to get back in the game and avoid a loss. Ivan Chepurenko was happy to oblige, firing an absolute rocket from far out on the right side that had eyes, soaring into the top far corner to make it 2-2. 

Hopkins head coach Omar Abdelaal was disappointed that his team let the win slip away, something that’s been a recurring trend for the squad this season. 

“The theme this season is small mistakes costing us big games, especially with the draws and a lot of the losses,” Abdelaal said. “It's small mistakes that are costing us.”

Both Hopkins and Gateway have four games left this season, and both still have a slim chance at qualifying for the state tournament depending on how their last few games go, though it will be an uphill climb. In the last MIAA power rankings, Hopkins was ranked No. 49 in Division 5, and Gateway was slotted at No. 64; the top 32 teams will qualify for the state tournament, as well as those who finish with a .500 or better record.

Despite the mistakes, Akimana said Hopkins has the talent and ability to bounce back and get some wins. If the Golden Hawks can capitalize on the chances they have, they should be in much better shape moving forward.

“As (Abdelaal) always tells us, always finish. The things we do in practice is the same thing that's gonna happen in the games,” Akimana said. “We’ve just got to keep our heads up and hope for our next game to do better than we did today.”

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1.