by Pete Janny, Sports Editor
last time either of the Manhattan soccer teams took the field was in fall 2019. To put that long wait in perspective, we have seen the start of COVID-19, Kobe Bryant’s death, Joe Biden becoming the 46th President of the United States and Jose Altuve’s walk-off homerun against the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2019 ALCS since Manhattan soccer was last in session before this spring season.
With so many teams playing this spring, soccer likely won’t get the usual spotlight it attracts in the fall. That doesn’t matter to them, though, because they’re back doing what they love.
“Honestly, I think all that stuff is the icing on the cake,” men’s soccer head coach Jorden Scott said back in January on the possibility of not having fans. “I think the fact that we’re just able to throw on a uniform and go out and play is rewarding and not motivating in and of itself.”
Fans are expected to be back by April 1, when New York State eases its restrictions on fan attendance at outdoor venues. As a result, life may be getting close to normal again for the soccer teams earlier than expected.
Last Tuesday, Manhattan women’s soccer made their official comeback when they edged Canisius 1-0 in muggy conditions at Gaelic Park.
It was a hard-fought game that was deadlocked most of the way through before junior Kaitlyn Hogan deposited one in the back of the net from 40 yards out. The play started with a failed clearance from Canisius and Hogan made them pay for it with a skying shot that sailed over the goalkeeper.
Manhattan featured a younger lineup against Canisius. Seniors Bri DeLeo, Gemma Perez and Sydney Harwood were all out of the lineup as the Jaspers improved to 1-0 on the season.
Playing their characteristically solid defense, Manhattan outshot Canisius 11-8, including 4-3 for shots on goal.
Two days later, the men’s team debuted at Monmouth, featuring a lot of new faces in their lineup as well. Coming off an elongated offseason in which key contributors like Adrien Awana, Berti Fourrier and François D’ulysse all departed, Manhattan was blanked 5-0 by the Hawks.
Despite the lopsided result, Manhattan was only outshot 8-5 for shots on goal. Replacing former Jasper Marcellin Gohier in net was freshman Danny DiMarco, who saw action for one half and recorded the first three saves of his career.
In the offseason, Manhattan added a slew of freshmen and transfers that compliments a lineup led by veterans Brandon Joseph-Baudi, Simon Busch and Thomas Hitchins. After losing to Marist in the quarterfinals of the 2019 MAAC Men’s Soccer Championships, the Jaspers are hoping to build off the growth they have made in recent seasons.
Manhattan women’s soccer will return to action at Quinnipiac on Tuesday, March 23 with kickoff slated for 3 PM. Additionally, the men’s home opener at Gaelic is set for Thursday, March 25 at 3 PM against rival Iona.
Manhattan soccer games will be streamed on either ESPN streaming platforms or on the Go Jaspers website.