Coming off a tough loss to Sacred Heart on Wednesday March 25, the Jaspers prepared for a visit from MAAC opponent Canisius at Gaelic Park on Saturday.
In Wednesday’s matchup, the Jaspers were leading most of the game. However, Sacred Heart went on a 5-0 run in the last six minutes to take the win from Manhattan with a 9-8 final.
“On the attacking side, communication is key to getting us to come together,” senior Carly Cappello said. “It showed in our game versus Sacred Heart. We communicated and we scored those goals.”
After losing that game, the Jaspers realized that they can’t just be satisfied with the score. It is always hard trying to maintain a lead and Manhattan knows that they want to finish every game knowing that they gave it their all.
“Having a lead, our problem is being complacent,” junior co-captain Megan Yarusso said. “The other team will realize that and capitalize on it. It’s all about composure. We have to focus on the overall result of the game.”
Canisius has been on a streak, winning four of their last five games, going into Saturday’s matchup. Senior Tori Quinn has been leading all season both offensively and defensively, with 20 goals, 11 assists and 18 caused turnovers on the defensive end. She added to her numbers and was a tough obstacle for the Jaspers in their matchup, scoring two goals and three assists in the 10-1 Canisius victory.
“It comes down to execution,” Cappello said, who scored Manhattan’s lone goal against Canisius. “Everyone is excited to be in conference now and it’s about us playing our game. We have to count on each other on the field.”
One of the themes for the Jaspers this season has been questionable refereeing. While it can be tough to deal with, Manhattan has used it to motivate them in each game and their season altogether. They focus on putting it away on the attacking end.
“If you’re not happy with the referees’ calls,” head coach Elizabeth Weber said, “you use it as momentum going forward. It’s about having a great defensive stopper and putting it away in the back of the cage.”
Taking some positives out of the loss, Coach Weber said that the team’s transition game has evolved greatly. It was one of their struggles at the beginning of the season but now they have it figured out. Another aspect of their game that has been improving is their defense, and it showed in their game against Canisius. Goalkeeper Christina Fiorinelli had 13 saves on the 23 shots she faced. Manhattan led with 18 ground balls and only had 16 fouls, compared to the Golden Griffins’ 31.
“At the end of the day, it’s about finishing our shots and being right in the game,” Coach Weber continued. “We’re getting over that hump and we’re right there.”
Having a new assistant coach this season, the team’s focus has been their defense. They have been working since the fall with assistant coach Amanda Trendell, who has brought some great experience to Manhattan. A Rutgers graduate, Trendell received the Midfielder of the Year Award in 2013 and her team ranked sixth nationally defensively.
“It’s a learning experience,” Yarusso said. “We’re still trying to figure each other out. Communication is the number one thing and we are learning that together.”
Not letting this loss get to them, the Jaspers are ready for their next game, against MAAC opponent Siena next week. They are taking the positives from this matchup and going to use that as momentum in preparation of getting their first conference win. In addition to Siena, they play Quinnipiac next week as well.
“When we stick to our game plan, we can beat any team,” Yarusso said. “It’s just about us executing it.”