by Mohsin Ahmed Copy Editor
On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 30, a game-night atmosphere was entrenched by the spectators who filled the bleachers to watch the Manhattan Jaspers play the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers at Gaelic Park in Riverdale. The game began with the Jaspers at 2-0-0 while the Terriers were 1-1-0.
The two teams spent the first half of the game by going back-and-forth between aggressively fighting for control over the ball and then promptly losing control to the opposition. This happened with little give on either side. The most excitement was in the 29th minute with Jasper senior forward Lucas Da Silva and Terrier senior forward Ali Tounkara, unbeknownst to any of the three referees, almost getting into a fight. After several seconds of lightly prodding each other in clear hopes of antagonizing the other, each returned their focus on the game. Close to the end of the first half, each team was in an uproar after the refs awarded a penalty shot to each team. At the end of the first half, both teams left the field with neither having managed to score.
The lack of goals in the first half was a testament to how extraordinary each goalkeeper was. While freshman goalie Mateo Green blocked a shot with the tip of his gloves for the Terriers, it was Jasper junior Marcellin Gohier whose skill was most noticeable. Gohier was recently recognized as the Preseason All-MAAC Team Goalkeeper, after an extraordinary 2017 season where he was honored as the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year. Gohier also ranked seventh in the nation with a .855 save percentage on 53 stops.
The second half heated up with the Terriers giving it their all. However, Gohier blocked shot after shot, and picked up all five of his saves in the second half. During the 62nd minute, fifth-year senior forward Troy Carrington slammed the ball into the St. Francis goal with an assist by junior midfielder Milan Devuyst. Then, less than six minutes later, the Jaspers notched another goal when Da Silva broke through the St. Francis defense and sophomore forward Berti Fourrier took advantage of the assist to overwhelm the Terrier goalkeeper for the second time. This second goal, so soon after the first, cemented the Jaspers’ victory and in the sidelines and the bleachers, the spectators went wild. For the rest of the second half, the Jaspers focused on protecting their side, as the Terriers attempted to salvage what was left of the game to no avail.
In a postgame interview with Go Jaspers after the game, Fourrier mentioned the strength the offense has focused on during training as well as the diversity of the team which enhanced how well they work together.
“I think we get along really good in training,” Fourrier said after the game according to Go Jaspers. “We have diverse players. We have speed, we have technique, so it’s a good mixup.”
Head Coach Jorden Scott concured and then emphasized the depth of the offense and how their strength is not just in how well they work together, but their ability to adapt to the team they’re playing.
“I think based on who we’re playing against, we’re able to adjust some things that allow us to be successful,” Coach Scott said after the game according to Go Jaspers.
Scott also spoke to the importance of recovery as the Jaspers played three games in seven days and do the same this week as they play in three games from Monday to Sunday.
“Tomorrow morning we wake up, we got recovery,” Coach Scott said after the game according to Go Jaspers. “Tomorrow afternoon they’ve got to be in the training room with the athletic trainers…it’s just a daily process, but they’re buying into it, they believe it’s helping them and we see the impact having that and obviously the results are speaking for themselves.”
Overall, the team worked seamlessly to control the field and keep the Terriers from scoring. While the Terriers had a strong defense and an agile goalkeeper that kept the Jaspers from scoring until the second half, in the end the better team won. The victory pushed the Jaspers to a 3-0-0 start to the season which has not been done since 1986. The Jaspers return to the home field at Gaelic Park on Saturday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. EDT against the Saint Joseph Blue Jays.