Women’s Soccer Gets First MAAC Win of the Season

For the first time in six years, the Manhattan College women’s soccer team earned a victory over Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) opponent Marist. It proved to be a strong game offensively for the Jaspers, with 17 shots total. Eleven of them were from senior Aislinn McIlvenny and junior Sam Washuk combined.

With this win, Manhattan improves to 6-3-1. Two weeks into conference play, this is their first MAAC win of the season after a tie against Niagara. “It’s always a good feeling,” junior Kristen Skoniecnzy said, “especially playing a team that you haven’t beat in six seasons. It shows the progress we have made over the years.”

It was the Red Foxes who scored first in the game. However, the Jaspers were able to answer back soon after. Washuk got her second goal of the season on a deflection from McIlvenny.

“We didn’t think that we couldn’t come back from it,” Skoniecnzy. “We kept positive and kept pushing. We knew it would come if we kept working. Coming back from being down 1-0 to win the game shows that we all believed in that.”

“Our team is very resilient,” junior Emily Ude said. “We’ve been going up against challenges this season since day one. Even after we are down one goal, there’s a lot in us to come back and score.”

With five minutes to go in the first half, senior Daniella Morgante passed the ball to McIlvenny who blasted it into the far corner of the goal and gave Manhattan the lead. The difference-maker of the game was McIlvenny’s eighth goal of the season.

Going into the second half, Manhattan was left with the task of maintaining their lead. They had great defensive pressure and were able to hold Marist from tying the game. “It’s always nerve-wracking,” Skoniecnzy said, “but everyone kept a good mindset and worked as a team.”

“Playing with the lead is definitely hard,” senior Shannon Garrity said, “but I think that we’re getting better at it. It’s hard to relax when you’re winning but I think we do a good job of it.”

“A lot of the way we play comes from our defensive shape,” Ude said. “Now that we are pretty confident in defense, we are able to attack. Once we are able to get the lead, we can keep the ball under control.”

Their strong defensive play led to some key offensive chances in attempts to make it a two-goal lead. However, Marist goalkeeper Andrea Wicks kept control and tallied 10 saves in the game. Skoniecnzy finished with four saves.

Not letting Marist’s offensive pressure get to them, the Jaspers were able to maintain control of the game. “We can’t let their energy get to us and we just have to play our game,” Garrity said.

A team already affected by injuries, the Jaspers suffered another loss when senior Kaelyn Angelo was taken down in the second. They looked on the positive side and had more motivation to win for Kaelyn.

“Kaelyn is a very tough player,” Ude said. “I’m sure we’ll see her back on the field. Seeing any of our teammates go down and get hurt like that actually pushes us a little more and motivates us to win.”

“It’s hard,” Garrity said. “You just have to put it aside and keep playing hard, especially for the player that got hurt.”

This past week, Skoniecnzy was recognized for her play and was honored with two awards. First, she was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Later in the week, she was also named Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Defensive Player. She was the first Manhattan player to get this honor since soccer player Alicia DeFino in 2007. These awards came after Manhattan’s 1-1 tie against Niagara where Skoniecnzy had eight saves.

“It was awesome,” Skoniecnzy said. “I’ve never gotten something like this before. It’s nice to be recognized. I owe it all to my defense and the team, I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Women’s Soccer Ties with Niagara in Double OT

The Manhattan College women’s soccer team began their MAAC play on Sunday. Coming off a 2-1 victory over Yale, they were looking to beat Niagara for the first time since 2010. After a hard fought game and overtime, it ended with a 1-1 tie and each team leaving with a point.

“At the start of the game,” assistant coach Sarah Brady said,” obviously we always want to win. But if we knew we would come out of this with a point against Niagara, we would be satisfied.”

Niagara has been a tough opponent for the Jaspers. Four of their last five games against each other have been Niagara victories. However, each of these has been one-goal games. It was Manhattan’s defense that stepped up and kept this game a tie.

“I think that makes or breaks a game,” junior forward Tiffanie McIntosh said. “If defense doesn’t step up, the rest of the team doesn’t step up. Collectively, as a whole, everyone has to step up their game so that each section of the field stays together.”

With a lot of their starters injured, the Jaspers went into the game with 14 healthy players. This motivated them even more to play strong defense against their first MAAC opponent.

“It was definitely important,” junior midfielder Colleen Kavanagh said. “We stuck together from the backline to the forwards and played team defense.”

Manhattan’s lone goal came from senior forward Aislinn McIlvenny on a penalty kick in the first half. McIlvenny leads the team with her seventh goal of the season. Junior goaltender Kristen Skonieczny played strongly to help the Jaspers keep the tie.

“It was really important to stay tight and compact,” senior forward Kaelyn Angelo said. “We had to be aware of our runners and make sure that we communicated as a team. We had to be on the same page. It was a good solid defensive effort, especially in overtime.”

With some good offensive chances in the game, the next step was to take advantage of them and score. Both teams held offensive chances and ended with a tie. Skonieczny had some key saves in overtime that held Niagara.

“A tie can be frustrating if you deserve to win,” Coach Brady said, ”but a tie can be borderline elation if you deserve to lose. If we look at it statistically, this team has beaten us four out of the last five times we’ve played them. So we would say it was a good point.”

“Ties are frustrating,” Angelo said, “because we all gutted it out for 110 minutes and we only get one point. “Niagara was a really good team and we kept our composure for the most part. We got the point and it’s still better than a loss.”

Looking forward, the team is excited and ready for their MAAC play to continue. Whether it is a win or a loss, it’s all about points now. Next on their schedule is a matchup against Marist.

“We’ve come in with the right attitude,” Coach Brady said. “It’s being built week by week. We’re going into the MAAC conference with confident focus. We know what we have to do, we know that we’ve done it prior to coming in, and we need to continue it.”

For the most part, the team will continue to play how they are now. Key offensive chances and strong defense have been important to them. They look to keep stay together as a team and tighten the gaps between offense and defense.

“Every game counts now,” Angelo said. “Everything is a point system. We have to keep being strong and communicating. We have to play well like we have been and carry it over to conference play.”

“If we all get up and stay back together,” Kavanagh said, “we’ll get the results we want.”






Women’s Soccer Converts on Chances, Beats Lafayette 1-0

After a closely competitive first half, the Manhattan women’s soccer team capitalized on their multiple offensive chances and took a 1-0 victory over the Lafayette Leopards. Coming off of a tough 1-0 loss to URI in overtime, the Jaspers scored early in the second half to take the lead in the game.

During the first half, Lafayette maintained significant pressure. However, Manhattan was able to hold them from scoring and get some great offensive chances of their own. The next step was to capitalize on these chances. Some went off the crossbar; others were saved by Lafayette’s goalie.

“We have to put them away as quickly as possible,” Kaelyn Angelo said. “We need to get in there and get a little stronger. Our attack did an excellent job on creating those chances, we just have to put them away.”

Despite the various opportunities, the Jaspers needed that extra step and that didn’t happen in the first half. One great chance came about 20 minutes into the game. Carly Perry took a corner kick and then Lauren Barton placed it on goal. Lafayette’s goalie blocked it but McIlvenny had the rebound. She had two attempts but the score remained zero.

“We were sometimes hesitant to shoot,” Shannon Garritty said. “We were getting a lot of opportunities but I think we have to shoot more.”

Communication is key during these instances in a game and the Jaspers were strong throughout. Whether it was between the coaches and players on the field, the goalie to the players, or players to each other, the Jaspers communicated well and got the job done.

“As long as we have that strong foundation,” Angelo said, “we’re pretty solid throughout the game.”

While Lafayette maintained heavier pressure, especially in the first half, the Jaspers kept their composure and had a strong defensive game. Goalie Kristen Skonieczny earned her second shutout win of the season and had four saves in the game.

“We just kept playing our game,” Garritty said. “There were times when we started playing the ball like them but at halftime we talked about strategy and how we need to calm down. I think we did that more in the second half.”

“It’s strict communication,” Angelo said. “We always have to be on top of the march running through and keeping everything tight.”

There were some debatable calls from the referees throughout the game. Some were on Manhattan’s side and some were not. No matter what call it was, the Jaspers didn’t let this get to them or affect their game and they continued to play strongly.

“It’s 50/50, we’re either going to get the call or not,” Angelo said. “When you don’t, you have to keep playing and keep your head up.”

“You know that it’s part of the game,” Garritty said. “You can’t dwell on anything.”

Some important chances the Jaspers were given were the offensive corners. They had two in the first half, which might have given them an earlier lead. In addition, they had another one in the second half that could have given them a greater lead. In the end, however, they were able to maintain their defensive pressure.

“Those are great offensive chances,” Garritty said, “ and we need to convert on them.”

After scoring early in the second half, the Jaspers were left with the sometimes tough job of defending their lead. Of course teams want to score first and lead the game but that puts more pressure on them to keep the lead and defensively hold their opponents.

“It’s definitely tough,” Angelo said, “but you have to stay compact or composed. We can’t let anything silly things happen in the backline. We have to just be strong, communicate well and take care of business.”

“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Garritty said, ”knowing you have the lead and have to keep it. It just gives us even more motivation to work hard and maintain that lead.”

With their season now at 3-2, the Jaspers are off to their best start since 2008 and only look to progress more. Defense has been strong throughout the season. In regulation, they haven’t given up a goal since early in their win against Binghamton.

“We’re already improving a lot,” Garritty said, ”but that can only keep going. We can convert on more offensive chances and I definitely think we’ll get more wins this season.”

Women’s Basketball Finishes Canadian Trip 3-1

The Manhattan College women’s basketball team completed a tour of Canada in the cities of Montreal and Ottawa. The six-day trip consisted of four exhibition games against local universities. They finished with an impressive 3-1 record.

With different game rules, such as wider lanes and a 24-second shot clock, there were some changes to get used to. This called for a fast pace game and strong offense.

“It was a great experience,” Coach John Olenowski said. “We played against really good teams with talented athletes. We adapted very well and played solid team basketball.”

In their first game, the Jaspers played strong defensively and earned a 65-58 victory against the University of Ottawa. They had a 31-16 lead at the half and increased to 52-36 by the end of the third. Defense forced 22 turnovers in the game. Offensively, five players had contributed at least seven points.

Their next win was earned with great team effort and chemistry. As scoring kept going back and forth, players stepped up when it was needed and helped win the game. After being tied at 26 by the end of the half, the Jaspers outscored their opponent 25-10 in the fourth quarter.

“When a game is close down the stretch,” Coach Olenowski said, “it takes players to reach down and give it their best effort. We had a lot of players who did that in the close games.”

Whether it was a key steal or rebound, the team worked together to earn the victory. Three players had over 10 points, with Taylor Williams at 15 points and Jacqui Thompson at 14. Shayna Ericksen stepped up with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Despite their third game ending in a loss, there were some valuable lessons that came out of it. Their opponent was McGill University, a nationally ranked team who were the 2013 Quebec provincial champions.

“They were definitely a good team,” Ericksen said. “It helped us prepare for the season.”

Finishing off their trip, the Jaspers earned their third victory against the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). After being down in the first quarter, Blake Underhill’s three-pointer gave Manhattan the extra motivation they needed. They led scoring in the second to come within two points at the half. Taking the lead again in the third, the Jaspers went on an 18-13 run to get the win.

Once again, Manhattan’s defense was strong and helped the team earn the victory. They forced 39 turnovers against UQAM.

“Defense is our trademark,” Coach Olenowski said. “We know how important it is for us to be successful. The fact that we caused a lot of turnovers is a very positive sign for our team. It was very good defensive pressure and steals at key moments.”

Overall, the team had a great experience that will help them continue to play strongly when their regular season begins. Players learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and will use what they experienced in Canada to prepare for the season.

“We’re a young team,” Ericksen said. “We learned how to work together and get things going.”

“It was huge for our program,” Coach Olenowski said. “It gave us a chance to see different lineups and rotations. We developed strong team chemistry. I think it made us better overall as a program.”