With two games left in the regular season, Manhattan College has already had a season of matching or setting new school records.
Most notably, it went on a seven-game winning streak in the middle of the season, which is the longest stretch in the program’s 25 year history.
“The team has been working so well together,” Nicole Copping said. “We deserve this. We are definitely earning it, and I’m excited to see where it ends up.”
Manhattan also surpassed the previous mark of 16 points that was held by the 1998 team by setting a new record of 17 points. Its defense is a big part of this happening, which allowed only one goal in seven league games.
Kristen Skonieczny matched the program records for both shutouts and wins. Notching 16 and 22 in her career, respectively.
“I’m not one to pay attention to records,” she said, “but it’s cool to see what this team has done. It’s a team effort and I’m proud of everyone who has been a part of it.”
Along with these records, Manhattan clinched a playoff berth for just the second time in school history. Skonieczny noted how this time last year, the team just missed their chance at the playoffs. Now, it has a spot, and are even hoping for a bye.
“It’s great,” Brendan Lawler, Manhattan head soccer coach, said. “It was our first team goal to get into the playoffs to give ourselves a chance to win the conference championship. The team has been playing well all year. We were happy with it and now we are moving onto the next goal.”
The team’s next goal is getting a home playoff game and, as mentioned before, trying for a bye as well. It can achieve the latter, if they win their last two games of the season.
Lawler mentioned that the biggest difference between last season and this season is health. The team had 13 healthy field players last season compared to this season’s 23 healthy players, which has given them more depth and productivity in games.
“There were games last season where we were close,” he said, “but didn’t have enough power in terms of depth. We are now winning those games.”
Manhattan is coming off its first conference loss of the season. When it was matched up against Monmouth — the top offensive unit in the MAAC. There was no score through the 79th minute of the game until Monmouth found the back of the net.
Lawler was happy with his team’s effort, adding that it was just the second time all season that Monmouth was held to only one goal.
“The biggest thing to take away from that game is that we know we can play with the best team in the conference,” he said, “and really slow down their attack.”
It took just one mistake in Manhattan’s back line for Monmouth to take advantage. Skonieczny said that is something the team will build off of. The defense played strong throughout despite that one shot.
Both she and Coach Lawler said that they hope to see Monmouth again in the playoffs.
“We were right there with them,” Skonieczny said. “Overall, we learned that we have to communicate more and work things out offensively.”
With the regular season winding down, Manhattan is looking at one game at a time. It played Marist to a double overtime 0-0 score last Saturday before it hosts Iona at Gaelic Park on Wednesday to end both teams’ regular seasons.
With important playoff seeding on the line, Manhattan is preparing just like it would for any other game, with concentration and focus.
“We know we have to come out and be ready for every game,” Copping said. “We know we can beat a lot of teams so we will just keep going.”
As one of the six seniors for Manhattan, Skonieczny looked back at her time and saw how great it was for the team to earn its spot in the playoffs in her final year.
“We’re all on the same page here,” she said. “The juniors and seniors have had a lot of experience working together. We’ve had a great freshman and sophomore class come in and build on top of that. We created a great team environment over the years since I’ve been here.”