by ANGELA QUADRINI, Contributor
When Drew Kelleher was hired as head coach of the men’s lacrosse team at Manhattan College in 2015, the program acquired more than a coach.
Kelleher, then an assistant at Boston University, recruited attackman Parker Giarratana to Boston. The Florida native was set to go to Boston, until Kelleher got the job as head coach at Manhattan. Kelleher saw potential in Giarratana and wanted him to play for whatever team Kelleher was coaching.
After some thought, Giarratana took his coach’s advice and committed to Manhattan.
Months later, the two-for-one special has paid dividends for Manhattan, as Giarratana has won Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week twice this season, and has started his debut college lacrosse season off with a bang with a team-leading 20 goals and 10 assists.
Yet despite the early season success, Giarratana remains humble.
“I owe everything to my coaches and teammates, they push me every day to be better,” Giarratana said. “I’m not here to play for myself and get recognized as an individual. I play for this team.”
His humble nature has rubbed off on his teammates, including senior defenseman, Alex Gitlitz, who sees him as a great teammate, competitor, and friend.
“Parker goes out of his way to make people better on and off the field and it leads to success when he plays in our games,” Gitlitz said. “He’s got such a great personality and it makes an impact on the field.”
While he doesn’t usually set personal goals for himself, Giarratana says he strives to be the best he can be for his teammates and contribute as much as possible in hopes of winning a MAAC Championship for Manhattan College.
When first recruited, he said he believed in Kelleher’s vision for what he wanted to do to change the lacrosse team for the better. Together, he believed they could turn around Manhattan College’s lacrosse program.
“I was very fortunate to get Parker to commit to this school,” Kelleher said. “He’s a very skilled attackman who could have a very good future here at Manhattan. His stick skills are exceptional, he’s got one of the best sticks in the MAAC Conference right now. He cares a lot about his teammates and always plays hard for them.”
In the team’s first win of the season against UMass Lowell on March 12, Giarratana put a point on the scoreboard for Manhattan with just 25 seconds left to play.
Throughout the game, he racked in three assists along with retrieving two ground balls in Manhattan’s favor. The Jaspers won the game 8-5. The win also marked Kelleher’s first victory as the Jaspers’ head coach.
“He scores a bunch of goals, but he also gets teammates involved and is a great feeder which has helped us,” Kelleher said.
The Jaspers have been struggling to win this season, with a 2-9 record and only four games left of the regular season. Despite the hardships, Giarratana and the team are united and have a positive outlook for the reminder of the 2016 season.
“Each and everyday we come out, work hard, and play for each other,” Giarratana said. “It keeps us motivated. We know we can do something special, so we keep working together no matter what the outcome is.”