WS: MANHATTAN 4, IONA 1
WS: MANHATTAN 0, FAIRFIELD 2
by PETE JANNY, Asst. Sports Editor
The Manhattan College women’s soccer team stayed busy last week, playing a home game against Iona on Wednesday, October 9th and then an away game at Fairfield on Saturday, October 12th.
In a season that hasn’t given the Jaspers much to celebrate about, the team’s performance against Iona stands out as the best highlight of the year thus far. After coming out of the halftime break tied 1-1 on a cold and wet night, the Jaspers used three second half goals to bury the Gaels. Not only was the win important for them as a team, but it was also a form of revenge on Iona after their men’s team beat the Manhattan men’s team in double overtime earlier that day.
Manhattan should be thankful the game wasn’t out of reach by halftime with the Gaels outshooting the Jaspers 15-3 over the first 45 minutes of play. Fortunately, the Jaspers were able to weather that storm entering halftime tied at 1-1.
Manhattan was able to get on the board first thanks to a finish by junior Arianna Montefusco from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute. The penalty arose from a handball against Fairfield in their own box off a cross from junior Bri DeLeo. Having only mustered one shot during the opening 20 minutes, a penalty kick was just what the Jaspers needed for an easy finish.
Just when Manhattan may have thought they were going to escape Iona’s pressure without conceding a goal, the Gaels tied things up in the 41st minute on a shot from 35 yards out by Kiera Haggerty. Although the Gaels should’ve been winning, it was still better to enter the break tied than behind.
The Jaspers came out of the break a team on a mission.
Manhattan wasted no time creating an insurmountable lead with junior Shelby Jones and DeLeo scoring goals less than a minute apart at 47:20 and 48:09, respectively. Jones was able to find the back of the net thanks to a beautiful cross from classmate Tia Painilainen, while DeLeo secured her goal off a blast to the far post. Both goals upped each player’s goal total to two on the season.
Despite the frustration of falling behind by two goals, Iona continued to keep the pressure on Manhattan’s defense. Equipped with a comfortable lead, the Jaspers were happy to sit back to force Iona to find a way to methodically breakdown their defense.
Ciara Guglielmo posed multiple threats for Iona in the aftermath of Manhattan’s offensive outburst, registering shots in the 51st and 53rd minutes, respectively. Moments later, Haggerty, Iona’s lone goal scorer, looked to add more goals to her name when she fired off multiple shots with the first hitting the crossbar and the second one sailing wide of the net.
Manhattan would get one more goal in the 81st minute to put the icing on the cake. It all started with Montefusco initiating a counter-attack in which she beat a defender before linking up with Montgomery on a through ball in the box. Montgomery did the rest of the job, executing a chip shot to seal Manhattan’s 4-1 win.
Sophomore Kim Mains replaced senior Camryn Nici at halftime and impressed in her debut. She recorded six saves in the final 45 minutes of play.
Iona deserves a lot of credit for the way they fought. Rarely do you see a game where the team who holds a 27-10 advantage in shots loses 4-1. What made the biggest difference for Manhattan was their remarkable efficiency. Not every day do you see a team score four goals on ten shots.
Manhattan head coach Brendan Lawler’s faith in his offense has never wavered and on this day they showed him just how good they could be on the attack.
“We have dynamic players who can get forward as a unit and we were able to finish our opportunities today so it was great to see,” Lawler said in a postgame interview with Go Jaspers.
The Jaspers returned to action just three days later at Fairfield (7-4-2, 4-1-0 MAAC) with the chance to win back-to-back games.
Manhattan could not have asked for a worse beginning to this game as the Stags jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead. Only 37 seconds into the game, Stephanie Tsangaris secured her fifth goal of the season off a shot from the right side of that box that beat Mains.
The Stags used that early goal to fuel a respectable first half performance. Outshooting Manhattan 7-3 for the half, the Stags consistently pressured the Manhattan defense while not giving the Manhattan offense much space to operate.
Looking to equalize the score, DeLeo flashed her sharp dribbling skills midway through the first half on a run down the middle of the field in which she tried connecting on a clever through ball to Montefusco. Although it was a good idea, the pass was slightly out of the reach of Montefusco, allowing the goalie to pounce on it. The play epitomized Manhattan’s frustrating first half.
The second half was significantly more encouraging for the Jaspers. Battling hard, they kept the Fairfield defense on their toes often over the final 45 minutes of play. Manhattan’s aggressive attitude out of the the break was personified by no one more than junior Lindsay Healy. Coming off the bench, Healy provided a nice spark for a Manhattan team in desperate need of some offense.
In the 49th minute, Healy used her speed to elude a defender on the right side before delivering a cross to DeLeo on the back post whose header attempt required a diving save from the Fairfield goalie. The sequence ended with a hard shot from Healy near the lower right corner of the box that led to a collision between the goalie and her own teammate. Foolishly, the referee blew his whistle to end the threat probably thinking it was a Manhattan player who initiated the contact with the keeper. If not for the referee prematurely ending the play, Manhattan may very well have had their first goal of the game. Healy was at the forefront of the Manhattan attack again a few minutes later when she tried finding freshman Jess DiMatteo on a through ball to the middle of the box. Upon receiving possession of the ball, DiMatteo was quickly pushed off the ball to end the threat. Much to the chagrin of Manhattan and their fans, no penalty was called even though Fairfield clearly obstructed the development of the play.
Mains was featured in goal for Manhattan in this one after making her debut against Iona the previous game. After a busy first half, she was once again subjected to a plethora shots from Fairfield in the second half. Even though she held her own for the most part, Fairfield’s constant advancement into Manhattan territory eventually yielded another goal in the 62nd minute with Ally Filipkowski doing the honors. Filipkowski’s first goal in a Fairfield uniform was made possible by a cross from Josie Horowsky on the right side that landed at her feet on the far side. Her ensuing shot would not be stopped by Mains to put the finishing touchings on Fairfield’s win. Despite the loss, the sophomore goalie ended the game with nine saves.
The Jaspers simply fought for their pride over the final 30 minutes of play. The last few offensive attacks of the game for Manhattan were led by Montefusco, who came really close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions. In the end, the Jaspers were held scoreless for the fifth time this season.
The Jaspers have two more good tests ahead of them with the Rider Broncs (7-2-3, 4-0-1 MAAC) coming to Gaelic Park on Wednesday, October 16th and the Siena Saints (4-8-3, 2-3-1 MAAC) coming to town on Saturday, October 19th. The game on Wednesday will start at 7 PM and Saturday’s game will commence at noon with Senior Day festivities set to take place before the game.