May 30—Tiger Hopkins takes pride in his role as the leading scorer for the Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon boys lacrosse team, but he insists his greatest asset is his vision.
"I think my biggest strength is seeing the field," the junior attacker said. "I play behind the goal, which is called the X. It is kind of like your job is you've got to start the offense going."
When he is not busy jump-starting the Raiders' offense, he is putting the ball in the net. At this juncture, Hopkins has scored 52 goals and has been credited with 39 assists.
But if you think the Oak Hill junior has a lot on his plate, you don't know the entire story. Book an appointment if you need to touch base with him because that's the only way you will catch this Tiger by the tail.
And yes, Tiger is not a nickname, which often prompts people who don't know him well to ask the question.
"It is my first name," Hopkins confirmed. "Probably the most-asked question I ever get."
Hopkins considers himself a four-sport athlete, who also plays football, basketball and plays a lot of golf. Somehow, he has found time to play for three lacrosse travel teams — Maine Select Lacrosse, Maine Musssels Lacrosse and 4 Leaf Lacrosse New England.
"I also run lacrosse clinics in the winter at the Topsham Dome on Fridays," he said. "My parents do a good job with the scheduling. I have my license so I am able to drive myself around."
But lacrosse is what makes Hopkins tick in the sporting world.
"It's team sports," he said. "You've got all your teammates. Lacrosse is my favorite thing to do. I practice a lot. I like to think that I do a decent job. When I play well, it is fun to play and fun to play with my friends."
Hopkins points to teamwork as the main reason for the Raiders' success.
"I think our team chemistry is really good, where we have seven or eight players that have played on and off travel lacrosse together," he explained. "A lot of players have been playing since their freshman year like myself, D'Andre Daniels, Riley Worth, Travis Caron. We all have been starting varsity as freshmen."
Golf is an outlet for him as well as hanging out with his friends.
"I go golfing a lot — me and my dad at Apple Valley," he said. "Mow grass at the course and hang out with friends, not much else."
A COACH'S PERSPECTIVE
Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon coach Joey Hinkley said Hopkins' work ethic is exceptional and it shows on the field.
"He is a great athlete," Hinkley said. "I think what stands out the most is he just puts in a lot of time out playing lacrosse. He just picked it up at a young age and ran with it."
Hopkins' frenetic schedule also astonishes his coach.
"Sometimes, I look at some of the kids (and think), 'You have a lot on your plate, bud. Relax, calm down, take it easy,'" Hinkley said. "We have the weekend off, and he's probably mad because he is not practicing, but he will find time to practice on his own because he wants to have a team practice."
Hinkley said Hopkins has exceptional leadership skills and uses those skills to motivate the team.
"He is a great kid overall," Hinkley said. "He is one of our team captains. He is the only junior captain we have. All the kids look up to him. Some of the seniors know he is very skilled and very good."
Hinkley concurs with Hopkins that the junior's vision on the field is truly his major strength, which helps get the ball to his open teammates as well as makes him the team's leading scorer.
"I think it is his vision and the amount of time he spends in front of the goal shooting," Hinkley said. "Before practice, he is taking 30 shots on the goal."
Hopkins often shows up early and takes 50 shots on net before a practice, Hinkley said. It also explains why Hopkins is the coach's go-to player in a tight game.
"I love the kid. You can't ask for a better kid to have on the team," Hinkley said. "He is always asking, 'Do you need help with this?'
"My son plays on a fifth-grade rec team. He has asked several times to go down and help out. He has helped out at a few clinics and he is just willing to help out and do whatever is possible for anybody. I think it starts with the parents. He has a great mom, great dad."