by PETE JANNY, Staff Writer
WSOC: MARIST 1, MANHATTAN 0
The Manhattan College Jaspers (3-7-2; MAAC 2-4-1) played host to the Marist Red Foxes (7-6-1; MAAC 5-2-0) on Saturday afternoon in front of a large crowd at Gaelic Park for Senior Day.
The annual senior day festivities always provide a thrill for the players and fans as the longest tenured members of the program are commemorated for their remarkable achievements and immeasurable contributions. The aura of this special day elicits bittersweet and sentimental emotions for everyone involved as the program begins to bid farewell to the leaders of the program.
However, it’s also a celebratory day and this year’s class provided no shortage of reasons for celebrating their dedication to the program. Nicole Copping, Victoria Reis, Annie Doerr, Kelly DiGregorio, Jill Hoban, Sara Naessig, Emma Saul and Caroline Taylor have captivated all with their unique talents and contributions which will not fade from the memories of Jaspers any time soon.
Both teams looked evenly matched for much of the game and neither team gave the other much room to breathe. The inability of both teams to find any rhythm can be attributed to spectacular defensive play by both sides and the onset of fall-like weather. The Red Foxes were able to capitalize off a corner kick in the 56th minute when sophomore defender Nicole Sasso headed home the cross from junior midfielder Alexa Svensson.
The go-ahead goal by Marist didn’t deter the composure and drive of the Jaspers as they showcased some of their offensive potential in the second half. In the 70th minute, sophomore midfielder Tia Painilainen unleashed a vicious strike from outside the post that drilled the crossbar and was swiftly cleared away from further danger. In the final minute, sophomore defender Maddie Barrow’s long-range blast was denied by the Marist keeper and effectively quelled Manhattan’s hopes of equalizing the score.
Copping and Reis had no intentions of letting whatever the final score read dampen their mood on this special day.
“Regardless of what the score was today or any other day, there was always just a focus on growing as players, but mostly people,” said Reis. “It was special to be able to celebrate with the people who have supported us the whole time.”
Both agreed that their experiences at Manhattan have surpassed their initial expectations when they arrived on campus in the fall of 2015.
“Coming in as a freshman I did not anticipate having such an awesome four years to be honest,” said Copping. “Our freshmen year was awesome and then we had our ups and downs throughout our four years but all in all it has been nothing but awesome.”
Both Copping and Reis acknowledged that their growth and success as players wouldn’t have been possible without the encouragement of head coach Brendan Lawler and the support of the Manhattan College community.
“Brendan does a really good job of helping each of us realize our full potential as players and people,” said Reis. “The alumni have also had an impact and their support has motivated us to always work harder.”
In regards to the on-field product of their team, Copping and Reis believe their team is starting to come into their own as the Jaspers enter the stretch run of the season. Both believe that their team performance can still be elevated to another level.
“We have the potential to take our game to another level,” said Reis. “Soccer is a game that often goes either way regardless of how well or poorly a team plays. We have the potential and crazier things have happened.”
The Jaspers will look to bounce back against Iona on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 3:00 p.m. in New Rochelle.