Three games, 343 minutes. Manhattan’s women’s soccer team had an impressive streak going.
After being shut out 2-0 by Fordham on Aug. 28, the Manhattan Jaspers had gone three games of denying the opponents a goal. Perhaps as impressive as that, they had scored eight of their own.
“Our defense is strong and it shows something about our offense as well,” Erica Modena, the team’s leading scorer said. “Defense makes good offense.”
But the streak ended at the hands of the Columbia Lions, who defeated the Jaspers 1-0 in Friday night’s matchup. The goal came in the 15th minute of the first half, a half which the Lions controlled, limiting the Jaspers to only one shot.
The Jaspers came out strong in the second, however, and tallied four shots. They did not allow Columbia to get any shots in the second.
“We competed hard against a very good Ivy League program,” head coach Brendan Lawler said. “We showed that we could battle with them.”
After the loss, the Jaspers stand at 4-2 on the season. Their three-game win streak included victories over Hartford, NJIT and Lafayette. All the victories were on the road, making it the first time Manhattan has won three-straight road matches since the 2006 season.
The season has been full of highlights individually and collectively. Modena and Nicole Aylmer were both recognized by the MAAC this week. Modena was named MAAC Player of the Week and Aylmer earned MAAC Defensive Player of the Week.
“The best thing about it is that those individual results usually come from quality team performances,” Lawler said. “It’s always great when people outside the team recognize that the team is doing well and which individuals are spurring that along.”
Modena notched four goals in the contests against NJIT and Lafayette. She scored her first career hat trick, as she scored all three of Manhattan’s goals against Lafayette. So far this season, she leads the MAAC with five goals.
“It was a great honor,” Modena said. “I didn’t think I would be able to come back like this after an injury last year but it was an amazing feeling.”
Aylmer earned Defensive Player of the Week after stepping in for Kristen Skonieczny in goal. Aylmer tallied three-plus shutout minutes against NJIT and a four-save shutout against Lafayette, giving them their first loss.
“For not playing at my position, I’m pretty proud of keeping the shutout,” Aylmer said.
Last season, the Jaspers were eliminated from playoff contention after a loss to Canisius gave the Golden Griffs the sixth and final spot for the playoffs. Just missing the postseason has only given the Jaspers more motivation to get back on top this year.
“We’re ready,” Modena said. “We can’t wait. Last year was a big loss but this year we are ready. I’m excited for the conference”
They suffered a lot of injuries last season, and managed to play well before their lack of depth ended up hurting them. This season, the Jaspers are hoping to keep the injuries to a minimum.
The Jaspers will get a chance to start their redemption when conference play opens up against Canisius on Sept. 19.
“It drives us everyday,” Lawler said about last year’s elimination. “We knew last year we were good enough to be in the top four. We’ve gotten past the believing stage to knowing that we can be there.”
“We have a senior class that has had to show a lot of belief in what we were trying to do when they first came here,” Lawler continued. “They are really leading the way to know that we can get back there.”