by PETE JANNY, Staff Writer
The Manhattan College Jaspers (12-5; 5-4 MAAC) played host to the Golden Griffins of Canisius College (4-9-2; 2-6-1 MAAC) on Saturday, Oct. 27 for their Senior Night game.
On a night with far from optimal weather conditions, nothing was going to mar the enjoyment that the Senior Night festivities provide. The program recognized the contributions and accomplishments of the five members of the class of 2019: Connor Hayes, Lucas Da Silva, Ryan Shields, Eduardo Avalos and Jean-Baptiste Tamas-Leloup. As an added bonus, the exhilaration of the night was heightened by the team’s success on the pitch as they rolled to a 2-0 victory.
“The senior nights are a great occasion for the families, for the seniors,” said Head Coach Jorden Scott in a postgame interview with Go Jaspers. “Because not just on the field, but off the field what they’ve given to this program, people will never be able to understand unless you’re day-to-day with us and we wanted to honor them tonight.”
With the season winding down, the tightness in the MAAC standings has put pressure on the Jaspers to play the way they are capable of playing. After completing the non-conference schedule with a 7-1 mark, most figured this team would make a lot of noise when navigating the MAAC schedule. However, coming into tonight, the Jaspers held the sixth spot in the conference with games against the Golden Griffins and Fairfield University Stags still left.
The Jaspers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders as their fierce pressure was giving the Golden Griffins all they could handle. Incredibly enough, a 12-1 first half advantage in shots for Manhattan didn’t translate into a halftime lead for the Jaspers.
“We’ve been doing a great job all season with possession,” Coach Scott said in his interview with Go Jaspers. “We got a little frustrated at times when we feel we’re not getting our reward, but it’s important to be patient, play it high tempo, keep doing the same things, and a little bit of quality at the end.”
The Jaspers broke through in the 52nd minute in impressive fashion when freshmen midfielder James Cotter sent in a cross from the left side that sophomore forward Berti Fourrier was able to put away easily for a 1-0 Manhattan advantage.
“So I see the ball being played on the left, I know Brandon’s speed and that he will take anyone on so I run to the box and he gives me a perfect ball for me to finish,” said Fourrier in a postgame interview with Go Jaspers.
The momentum belonged with the Jaspers right from the start and continually intensified for the remainder of the game. As a result, it appeared unlikely that Canisius would be able to respond once they found themselves facing a deficit.
Then in the 59th minute, the Golden Griffins caught Manhattan off guard when a high shot came sailing in from the left side that hit the far post and then struck a disoriented Hayes before going out for a corner. The chance represented the Golden Griffins’ best opportunity of the night.
The Jaspers sealed the win in the 87th minute when Cotter gained possession of the ball in the Golden Griffins’ box and found junior forward Noah Amissah whose shot beat Canisius keeper Bryce Tramuta. The goal was Amissah’s fourth of the season and gave Cotter his second assist on the night. The final stat line indicates the lopsidedness of this one as the Jaspers posted advantages in shots (25-3), shots on goal (7-1) and corners (6-2).
Saturday night’s shutout was also noteworthy because it increased the team’s shutout total to nine on the season, which is a new program record.
“Well obviously it’s important for us to get the win for them as they’ve been working hard for a long time in this school so it’s perfect for them; a good night for them,” Fourrier said about the five seniors in his interview with Go Jaspers.
Manhattan now controls their own destiny in the MAAC standings as they prepare to head up north for a highly-anticipated affair with the Fairfield University Stags (10-4-2; 7-0-2 MAAC) on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m. A win and the Jaspers will qualify for the tournament, but a tie or loss would leave it up to Rider to determine Manhattan’s fate.