By RikkiLynn Shields, Asst. Editor
The 2017 fall season is coming to an end, and the Manhattan College Jaspers have made it one to remember, yet again.
For starters, the men’s basketball team, while their season still continues, made a tremendous comeback from the previous season. In the beginning of the season, Head Coach Steve Masiello announced that Michael Alvarado has been elevated to Assistant Coach while RaShawn Stores will now serve as a special assistant, installing strong staff changes right off the bat.
Throughout the season so far, Manhattan played a variety of great games. The Jasper’s beat St. Francis Brooklyn at home on Nov. 15, in a close game of 80-79, and continued the home winning streak by taking the W against Harvard with a score of 73-69 on Nov. 18, 2017.
Three-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Rhamel Brown, was also signed with the Halifax Hurricanes of the National Basketball League of Canada for the upcoming season.
While we have plenty of Manhattan College alumni in the Manhattan College Basketball Hall of Fame, a variety of these MC alumni were also inducted into the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame, including Steve Lappas and Larry Lembo.
While in Ireland at the Belfast Classic Championship game, Manhattan succeeded against Holy Cross on Dec. 1 with a fantastic final score of 70-54. However, the next day, Mike Morsell of Towson University hit a jumper with 1.7 seconds remaining to lift Towson to a 56-55 win over Manhattan. So far, Manhattan is 3-5 overall.
For the women’s basketball, the Jaspers opened the 2017-18 season with their first official practice on Oct. 2. Since then, the women may have taken two close loses to Stony Brook and Sacred Heart University while away, however, they made a comeback while home against St. Francis Brooklyn, finishing with a win of 57-54 on Nov. 18.
On Nov. 25, the women faced Coppin State, and earned the victory with a score of 74-56. Along the way, senior center Kayla Grimme was able to score so many points that she hit her 1,000th point on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The women are currently 2-4 overall.
Stepping off the basketball court and onto the Van Cortlandt Park backhills, the Manhattan College Cross Country team had an outstanding season. From the get-go, the men were picked third and the women were picked fifth in the MAAC Preseason Poll. The Manhattan men’s cross country team specifically was also slated 14th in the USTFCCCA Division I Northeast Region poll, which is its highest preseason ranking in program’s history.
They began the season with their season opener on Sept. 8 at Van Cortlandt Park. Senior John Dove won the five mile Fordham Fiasco with a time of 26:16.55, to pace a dominating team effort as the Jaspers claimed the team title at Van Cortlandt Park with ease. While this was Dove’s first Cross Country win, he also ran exactly four minutes faster in this exact race than he did four years ago– how fitting! For the women, junior Lisa Fajardo won the 5K Fordham Fiasco by over 17 seconds with a time of 18:24.09, to leading Manhattan to the team title.
With a strong start to the season, the teams only got better. The men took second at MET Championships, while the women claimed first for the first time since 1986. At the MAAC Championships, men took second, and women took fourth. The women’s team was led by a third-place finish from Lisa Fajardo, who finished fourth overall, up one spot from last year. For the men, junior Amir Khaghani was Manhattan’s top finisher, coming in ninth and posting a time of 25:48.
Junior Lisa Fajardo also posted a time of 17:58.9 at the 2017 ECAC Cross Country Championships at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, Nov. 18, while simultaneously setting a Manhattan College record for the 5,000-meter course.The record-breaking time placed Fajardo third out of 209 runners, and helped the women’s cross country team take home an 11th-place finish out of 25 teams for the final race of the season. Fajardo was also the first woman in Manhattan history to break 18 minutes for the course.
As for the men’s cross country team, they finished fifth among 25 teams in the IC4A Championships, also held Saturday in Van Cortlandt Park. Junior Amir Khaghani crossed the line first for the Jaspers with a time of 25:54.3 in the 5-mile race, finishing 22nd out of a field of 203 runners.
Stepping onto Gaelic Park, the men’s and women’s soccer team finished strong this season as well. As for the men’s team, their first game against Navy on August 25th left them with a win at home scoring 1-0. The next win for the men came just a few days later on August 31st, finishing 1-0 over Sacred Heart.
While the men had some losses, from Sept. 27-Oct. 7, the men took home four consecutive wins– 1-0 against Iona, 5-0 against Marist, 2-0 against St. Peter’s, and 1-0 against Monmouth.
Hosting its first-ever postseason game in program history, the fourth-seeded men’s team fell to fifth-ranked Quinnipiac 1-0 in the first round of the 2017 MAAC Tournament at Gaelic Park on Nov. 5. The men finished the season overall with a record of 9-8-1.
As for the women, the team started off strong with a win over NJIT on Aug. 18, scoring 1-0. Similar to the men, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, the women had four consecutive wins as well– 2-1 against Siena, 4-0 against Iona, 4-2 against Marist, and 3-1 against St. Peter’s.
The top-seeded Monmouth ended the women’s postseason run with a 5-1 win in Championship of the 2017 MAAC Women’s Soccer Championship at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The women finished the season overall with a record of 10-7-3.
Now let’s take to the water with the Manhattan College women’s rowing team. The women’s rowing team began their season when College Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Marianne Reilly named Alex Canale the Head Coach of the Women’s Rowing Team. The women finished the fall season at the aptly named Frostbite Regatta. The women took to the water in three races. The Lightweight 4+, consisting of sophomore Kate Sexton, classmate Shannon Forty, junior Lisa Dominguez, freshman Anayda Arroyo, and sophomore cox Maura Mead, raced the course to a gold medal finish ahead of Jefferson University in a time of 8:53.2.
The Varsity 4+ had three weeks of successful finishes with a wire-to-wire battle with Loyola and Lafayette, before ultimately falling. The Varsity 4+’s time of 8:18.17 was not just the third in the flight, but also the third overall time of the day, leading them to wins against Binghamton, Stony Brook, Jefferson, TCNJ and the Loyola and Lafayette B and C boats. The Varsity 8+ closed the day with the A boat defeating Binghamton, and while their season has come to a close, the women will take a break from racing and continue to train indoors for the winter months.
For the men’s golf team, the men began their 2017-2018 season at the Ryan Lee Memorial Tournament on September 11th, at the Hopmeadow Country Club in Simsbury, Connecticut, placing eighth in the 13-team field. The men also placed third at the Monmouth Invitational, carding a collective 299 in the one-round event. Senior Johnny Schob carded a team-best 72 (+2) to place third in the second annual Father George Hill Collegiate Invitational at the Huntington Crescent Club on Sept. 25. The team finished 10th in the Bucknell Invitational, carding a two-day total of 600.
The women’s volleyball team ended the season with a record of 2-29, winning 3-0 against Saint Peter’s on Oct. 14, and 3-1 against Saint Peter’s again, on Nov. 1. Regardless, the Manhattan Volleyball Team led all MAAC school with nine selections on the All-Academic Team. To be eligible for the MAAC All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must complete two semesters at their institution and hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a 4.0. This included senior Mary Donnelly, senior Zoe Lindsey, junior Kenza Hall, junior Sandra Lozanova, junior Alyssa Rehrer, junior Monika Simikic, junior Samantha Wagner , sophomore Taylor Hasley, and sophomore Ginamarie Napoli.
And jumping into the pool for our final recap, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving team finished the season strong. The swimming and diving program started its 2017-2018 season on Friday, Oct. 6 with a two-day meet against St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU Brooklyn. This meet was also the first meet for head coach Molly Belk.
With the help of impressive performances from senior Tyler McCloskey as well as multiple freshmen, the Manhattan men’s swimming and diving team defeated St. Francis Brooklyn 182-120 in the Brooklyn Invite. On the women’s side, Manhattan fell to St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU Brooklyn.
The Manhattan Women’s Swimming and Diving split the meet against Pace and Saint Peter’s, defeating Saint Peter’s while falling to Pace. On the men’s side, the Jaspers were beaten by both Pace and Saint Peter’s. Despite solid performances from men’s senior Brandon Shields and women’s sophomore Kali Nembach, the Manhattan swim team fell to Monmouth and Siena on Saturday, Nov. 18 in MAAC play.
Amongst all of the wins and losses that came along with the 2017 season, all team’s showed their strengths, even in times when you would think the weaknesses would triumph. With the fall season coming to an end, winter is about to begin, and the spring is fast approaching.