Maddie Arndt Named NCAA Representative For MAAC

With her sophomore year almost completed, Maddie Arndt is about to take over three major leadership roles in addition to the responsibilities of a student-athlete.

Arndt, a pole vaulter on Manhattan’s track and field team, was named both the president of the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s SAAC. In addition, she was appointed to represent the MAAC’s SAAC at the NCAA Division I level.

“I’m ecstatic,” Arndt said. “I can’t explain it any better because there’s no other word that I can put to this opportunity.”

As the NCAA representative, Arndt will be a voice for the MAAC student-athletes at the national level. She will work with conference representatives from the other 31 Division I leagues. As the president of the MAAC SAAC, she will report back to the conference members with the information she received from the national meetings.


“I’ve been in leadership roles my whole life,” Arndt said, “it’s just natural for me and when I heard about this I thought, ‘I’m going to be competing against other people, what’s the chance I would get picked?’ But I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because if I didn’t apply, I’m going to regret it.”

In addition, she will serve as the president of Manhattan’s SAAC for the upcoming academic year, taking over the position from Casey Silvestri, a senior on the women’s lacrosse team.

“She’s passionate and enthusiastic about SAAC and our mission in developing the whole student-athlete,” Silvestri said to

One plan Arndt has as Manhattan’s president is to work with the strong community relationship Silvestri has built during her presidency. Arndt will stress the fact to student-athletes that community service is important while hoping to change their outlook on it being just a requirement.

“It can be really eye-opening,” she said, “and it’s good to give back to your community. Everyone in the Bronx knows Manhattan College and I want people to know that we’re doing this; we’re being athletes but giving back to our community.”

She also plans to build a bigger alumni connection between past athletes and current athletes with a mentorship program, hoping to develop it within the next two years and that it’ll be successful beyond her presidency.

Arndt explained that while having these positions seem like a lot, they overlap. When something works well for one school, it will most likely work well for other schools in the conference because they are all quite similar.

“I’ll meet with a lot of important people, in and outside of our conference,” she said. “I get to represent what we stand for, what we need, what legislation we like or don’t like. There’s a lot of aspects where you vote and I’m the student-athlete vote once I talk to my school and the other MAAC schools. So, it goes from institution to conference to national and I’m the liaison through all of that.”

Although it wasn’t her original intention to have multiple positions, she’s excited for the opportunity. Arndt sent in her application for the NCAA position first and received recommendations from Manhattan’s SAAC Advisor Allison Fitzgerald and Silvestri, who said Arndt was the first name to come to mind.

“Maddie is a great student, athlete and community builder,” Silvestri said. “Her recommendation was a no-brainer. I’m confident that she’ll do an amazing job and I’m excited to see what amazing things she has in store.”

Then, it just so happened that no one was going for Manhattan’s SAAC president after Silvestri leaves, which led to Arndt fulfilling this role as well.

“Everyone says this is a résumé builder but that’s not what it’s about to me,” Arndt said. “It’s about getting myself out there and doing what I love. It’s about being an athlete and trying to make a change at the same time.”

JustPeace Protests B21 Infraction

The New York City public school system has suspended several students over the years for “defying authority” – a right they have under the disciplinary code B21.

B21 is defined as “disobeying the lawful authority or directive of school personnel or school safety agents in a way that substantially disrupts the educational process.”

Manhattan’s JustPeace is one of the many groups that is protesting this disciplinary code. People are arguing that this rule disproportionately affects students of color, immigrant youth and LGBTQ youth in the New York City school system.

JustPeace co-presidents Katelyn-Rose Conroy and Sarah Kissane said that it was important for the organization to protest this code for multiple reasons.

They noted how it was close to home, being based on the city school system. At the end of last month, members of the club went around to get petitions signed in support of the protest.

“Getting petitions signed meant that we were supporting young people trying to do social justice work, which is always a plus. The B21 protest is something we are in support of because it tries to alleviate the systematic racism present in our country.”

The Urban Youth Collaborative released a statement that there was an average of 40 students suspended each day at school in 2013 due to this infraction. According to the research, the infraction is the second most common reason for students being suspended in the New York City public school system.

People arguing against the rule believe that dozens of students are at risk of dropping out of school due to B21. Students could be suspended for minor infractions, including things such as refusing to take of their hats or talking back to their teacher. The penalties should be dealt with in school instead of in court.

Los Angeles had a similar rule in their public school system and the city has recently eliminated it. Since then, they saw a 40 percent reduction in suspensions. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, city activists are preparing for possible reforms.

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the issue,” Conroy said, “and to get as many petitions signed as we could. It was really successful.”

JustPeace got involved in the protest through a connection from Kathleen Von Euw, Manhattan’s coordinator of community service and partnerships. She linked the club to the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition and their youth organization Sistas & Brothas United. Both organizations have worked with Manhattan before.

The youth organization was trying to get as many petitions signed as possible. Conroy and Kissane said that the members of the youth organization picked the petition themselves, as an initiative they wanted to get behind.

“We just gathered them up and handed them in,” Conroy said on any update with the petition, “so no change yet, but hopefully there will be news soon.”

Women’s Basketball Names Heather Vulin Head Coach

Press, faculty, student athletes and alumni filled the basketball court in Draddy Gymnasium for a press conference on Friday. The Manhattan community welcomed Heather Vulin as the new women’s basketball head coach.

It was the second press conference for the athletic department in a month after introducing Marianne Reilly as the new athletic director on March 31. It took Reilly less than 30 days to get her first hire.

“It feels great to have gone through the process and all the candidates,” Reilly said. “It’s a sense of relief that it’s behind it us.”

Vulin comes to Manhattan with 16 years of coaching experience, spending 12 of those years as a recruiting coordinator. She has 14 winning seasons and has coached in the NEC, the Big East and the ACC. Her most recent accomplishment was helping Virginia Tech earn a visit to the WNIT.   

Reilly Announces Vulin Press Conference.jpg

“It’s a dream come true,” Vulin said of coming to Manhattan. “I wanted to be a head coach my whole life but to be at a Catholic institution is something that’s always been very important to me. I’ve spent 15 years of my career at Catholic institutions so I’m really excited for it. It really offers everything that I am looking for and I feel like it is a place where I’ll thrive.”

The announcement that Vulin was named Manhattan’s head coach came just last week, but she has already hit the ground running to prep for the new season.

“She’s already reached out to players that she’s been recruiting at her other institutions,” Reilly said. “She has an official visit set for next week. She’s looking at some transfers. She’ll decide if she wants to keep the staff that is already here or if she wants to hire new assistants.”

Vulin said in the press conference that she is honored to be Reilly’s first hire and that she is excited to work with someone who is so passionate. She turned to Reilly and said, “So far I’m the best hire you’ve had and I plan to keep it that way.”

Several basketball players, both men and women, were in attendance to welcome Vulin to the program. The women players looked on, observing their new coach and eager to start working with her.

“We’re really excited,” Amani Tatum, a guard for the women’s basketball team said. “A lot of people say that change is good and I think that this is what the program needed; someone like her who is excited and committed. We’re looking forward to it. We’re excited for what she is going to do.”

Reilly noted in the press conference that one of the several aspects that set Vulin apart from the other candidates was understanding the balance of academics and athletics at the Division I level. She said that Vulin is invested in Manhattan’s student athletes both now and in the future.

“I think she is going to hold people accountable,” Tatum said. “She’s going to have people working harder than they usually are, just bring a lot of energy and excitement to the program.”   

Vulin’s previous experience includes six years at Sacred Heart, helping the team earn their first NCAA Tournament berth and overseeing recruitment that led to another NCAA appearance.

Then, she spent another six years as Villanova’s recruiting coordinator. She played a key part in the program advancing to two NCAA Tournaments and three WNIT appearances.

“I expect to win,” Vulin said. “I feel like I do things the right way. I’m committed to it, I work for it and I’m not afraid to go after it. I feel like my leadership will make an impact. I’m really excited for the opportunity.”

Now, she is vowing to bring that success to Manhattan. She plans to be a resource on the court and in the community. She wants Jasper athletics to be on the map across the country.

‘I’m very fortunate,” Vulin said. “A lot of times when you take over a job it’s because maybe there isn’t much talent there. But obviously we have our three returning scorers, we have Amani [Tatum] who’s defensive player of the year and Kayla [Grimme] had tremendous blocks this season. I would like to bring in some more players this year to give us some more depth.”

Tatum said that Vulin has already started working with the team. One thing that has stood out to her so far is that Vulin encouraged her new players to not dwell on the past and that they are all starting a new chapter together.

“I’m really big about once you know what you want, you can go after it,” Vulin said. “But if you are just focused on things in the past and you use that as a crutch then you can’t go forward, and the team can’t go forward.”

Vulin stressed the fact that this is a new chapter for the team and she plans to spend as much time with her players as she can in the last two weeks before summer break.

“I really feel that we have a great group and I can’t wait to get on the court with them,” she said.

Women’s Basketball Names Heather Vulin Head Coach

Women’s Soccer Preps for Another Strong Season

It’s the end of April and while some people at Manhattan College are mainly focused on softball or lacrosse, Manhattan’s women’s soccer team is focused on its upcoming fall season.

After its 2015 campaign, which resulted in multiple broken records, the team wants to go even further in 2016.

“Win the MAACs,” both Nicole Aylmer and Jenny Bitzer answered at the same time when asked about their overall goal for the upcoming season.

Last fall, the Jaspers made it to the MAAC Championship for the first time in school history. They had a season of broken records and high-ranked players, both in the league and nationally. They notched 11 victories and a school record 21 points in conference play.

After earning the second seed and a first-round bye, Manhattan played fourth-seeded Rider in the MAAC Semifinals. A 3-1 victory brought the Jaspers to their first-ever MAAC Championship. However, they fell 5-2 to sixth-seeded Siena in the final game.

Despite the loss, it was a season for the record books. Head coach Brendan Lawler was voted the Lids Team Sports MAAC Coach of the Year. Kristen Skonieczny was named Goalkeeper of the Year. Bitzer earned Defensive Player of the Year. Erica Modena and Nicole Copping earned spots on the All-MAAC First Team and Copping also got All-Rookie honors.

With all of that success, the team is looking at last season to push even further this coming season. Getting that close and just missing the title is the team’s drive now and will be throughout the season to get back to the championships.

“I think it’s definitely a big motivator knowing we made it that far we can make it there again,” Aylmer said. “We just need to stay focused and not take anything lightly.”

The team had about two weeks of rest after its season ended before it picked it back up with light training and workouts. After winter break, full workouts started five days a week through April.

“We do a lot of lower body workouts,” Aylmer said, “with soccer you need that lower body strength. We do core stability and then once we’re outside we do cardio and body weight exercises.”

One thing that will benefit the team next season is the addition of seven incoming freshmen. The Jaspers are losing six core seniors in Skonieczny, Emily Ude, Tiffanie McIntosh, Colleen Kavanagh, Taylor Salkowsky and Sam Washuk. But Brendan Lawler believes the incoming freshmen will bring the same quality and depth that the seniors did.

“We are extremely excited about next season,” Lawler said to “Coming off one of the best years in program history where we relied a great deal on our seniors, we knew we needed a class that would add the same quality and depth right away that they brought us.”

The incoming freshmen include three defenders, two forwards and two goalkeepers, which Bitzer said is a luxury for the Jaspers to now have two more backup goalies instead of just one.

“Where our past classes helped us make the climb toward the top of the conference,” Lawler said, “we will now be relying on this group and all of our returners to help us stay there and go one step further.”

This Week in Sports…

Men’s Lacrosse

Manhattan earned its first win of the season on April 16 after a rousing 11-10 overtime victory over Marist. Nick Strano scored his third goal of the game just 21 seconds into overtime to get the win for Manhattan.

The Jaspers improved to 3-10 overall and 1-3 in the MAAC. Strano and Parker Giarratana led the team with three and four goals respectively. Giarrantana’s team-leading 27 goals are tied for the ninth-most in a season all-time for the Jaspers. Jack Fowler was strong for the Jaspers in the circle, winning 16 of 24 face-offs.

Manhattan plays Siena next at Gaelic Park on April 23.

Men’s Golf

The Jaspers took part in the Glen Oaks Shootout on April 11 and placed fourth after notching a score of 322 (+34).

Ryan Lynch and Jon Keyes finished tied for fifth place in the shootout and first on the team with the same scores of 78 (+6). Ross Ketner earned third place on the team with an 82 (+10), which was 14th overall.


Manhattan played in two doubleheaders last week, totaling 19 runs.

After getting postponed twice, they finally got to take on Wagner on April 11. Manhattan took the first game 10-9 and Wagner won the second 3-2.

Shannon Puthe started the Jaspers’ offense in game one with a tripe to left field in the bottom of the first. The Jaspers went on to score six total runs in the first and four more in the second. They were shut out the rest of the game but it was enough to get the victory.

On April 13, the Jaspers split a doubleheader against Lehigh, which began an eight-game road trip. They notched a 4-3 victory in game one before falling to Lehigh by the same score.

Matazinsky tossed a complete game eight-hitter. She allowed three runs, striking out five and walking three. She went 3-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and an RBI.  Bowman finished 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, which was her seventh of the year. Alexa Dawid went 1-for-3 as well with a run scored.


The Jaspers notched a 3-2 victory over Army West Point on April 12 in a non-conference game. It was a whole team effort for the Jaspers and they earned their ninth win of the season.

Manhattan’s scoring started in the third when Joe Credendino led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Carrera. Manhattan got the early lead when Credendino scored on Richie Barrella’s infield single, which was his second of the game.

Michael Pfenninger and Barrella were both 2-for-4 for the Jaspers. Pfenninger had a triple and run while Barrella had an RBI. Michael Scarinci struck out and kept Army West Point off the board until the sixth inning. Manhattan’s relief of Joe Jacques, Tom Cosgrove and Shawn Kanwisher allowed just one walk to secure the victory.

On April 13, the Jaspers traveled to Long Island for a non-conference matchup against Hofstra. They fell 14-4 and now stand at 9-20 on the season.

The Jaspers notched 12 hits despite only getting four runs. They were led by Carrera who finished 3-for-5 with a triple and run. Jason Patnick finished 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs. Fabian Peña was also 2-for-3 with a run and two walks.

Men’s and Women’s Track and Field

Manhattan finished competing at the Princeton Outdoor Invitational on April 16. The men’s team placed third altogether and the women placed seventh.

On the men’s side, Manhattan notched four event wins. John Dove earned first in the 1500 meters with an 1C4A-qualifying time of 3:56.48. Amir Khaghani took first in the 3000 meters, Bobby Gebhard won the triple jump and Hayden Clark took first in the long jump.

Ellinor Persson had a personal-best leap in the long jump of 5.82 m, which qualified her for the ECAC Championships.

Women’s Lacrosse

Manhattan had a notable offensive outing against Marist on April 13 despite falling 25-12. Freshman Molly Fitzpatrick had a career-high five points as she notched four goals and an assist, leading the way for the Jaspers.

Claire Roediger, Megan Yarusso and Kara Hodapp had multiple goals for Manhattan as well, each notching two a piece. Stephanie Ranagan had a team-best eight draw controls, as well as a goal and an assist.

April 16 was Senior Day for Manhattan and they honored their six seniors, Yarusso, Ranagan, Cunningham, Roediger, Marissa Acosta and Casey Silvestri before their afternoon matchup against Niagara. The Jaspers ultimately fell 12-8 and now stand 4-10 on the season and 0-5 in the league.

Niagara opened the game with four straight goals but the Jaspers fought back with three-straight. Roediger notched the first goal for the Jaspers off a 40-yard open-field pass from Ranagan. Cunningham found the back of the net next off a pass from Yarusso. Darby Nolan followed with a free-position goal.

Manhattan came out strong in the second half with three-straight goals, tying the game at 6-6. However, Niagara soon answered back, notching five-straight goals and taking an 11-6 lead. The Jaspers ultimately fell 12-8.

The Jaspers’ next matchup is April 20 against Iona.

Jasper Talk: Elena Bowman

Elena Bowman, catcher for the Manhattan College softball team, is in her final year as a Jasper and to say she has brought a lot to the team is an understatement.

Elena Bowman Jaspers Talk

Just looking at last season, Bowman was named MAAC Player of the Year, Capital One Academic All-District and All-America First Team just to name a few. When you ask her about her awards, she never focuses too much on herself. She always has a team mindset.

Her accomplishments so far this season include driving in four homeruns and hitting .455 in the St. John’s Invitational, part of the Jaspers’ 14-game road trip. The Jaspers had a comeback win against LIU Brooklyn on March 24 and Bowman notched one run in the team’s seven-run sixth inning.

The Quadrangle: You were just named MAAC Player of the Week, the sixth of your career, after your performance at the St. John’s Invitational. How does it feel to be honored like that?

Elena Bowman: It’s always nice to be recognized by the conference. It’s not something that ever really gets old. I let myself feel good about it for a minute but then I think it’s important to focus in on the big picture and what we’re trying to achieve. It’s not where you stand now that matters but where you’re standing in May.

TQ: After the team’s long road trip, you return home for four games. How is it for the team to play on home field?

EB: It’s so good to be home. We love playing on our field in front of our fans. It’s just a great atmosphere and makes for great softball.

TQ: In the LIU Brooklyn game, the team was down and came back to win with a seven-run sixth inning. What does that say about the team’s resiliency?

EB: This team is amazing. You put 22 hardworking girls on one roster and that’s what you’re going to get, straight grit. It’s just fun to be a part of. No lead is insurmountable. No team is unbeatable. Like I said, it’s a lot of fun taking the field with this team and I think that’s the way it should be.

TQ: How do you feel your season has gone so far?

EB: I got off to a little bit of a slow start but Pitt [Lauren Pitney, infield] and Jenn [Vazquez, first base] have been brilliant on either end of me in the lineup. So once I relaxed a little bit and let the game come to me, I feel like I’m finally starting to hit my stride.

TQ: What is an individual goal you have set for this season? Team goals?

EB: No individual goals this season. My goal is the same as the team goal, a MAAC championship. Everything else is just white noise.

TQ: As a senior, what has been your favorite memory from your years at Manhattan?

EB: I would have to say my favorite memory as a Jasper was last year when I broke the career homerun record in front of my family in California. It was the first time they had seen me play for Manhattan and I’ll never forget rounding third base, seeing how excited my team was for me and then looking beyond them and seeing all my family jumping up and down. Really just a special moment.

TQ: How does it feel playing in your last season as a Jasper?

EB: Very bittersweet. It has been such an amazing experience playing ball here. From my teammates, to my coaches and throughout the entire athletic department, I’ve met the most incredible people and enjoyed every bit of this journey. I’m sad to see it come to an end but I know when I hang up my cleats at the end of the season I’ll have given this team and I’ll have given this sport everything I have. That’s something I think I’ll always be able to take pride in.

TQ: Who has influenced you as a player?

EB: Bridget Hurlman, our previous assistant coach, was an incredible mentor for me. She taught me a lot about the amount of passion this game demands and the respect it requires. I am grateful for all the hours she spent making me a better ball player but to Coach Bridge and Coach P [Pardalis, head coach] I am forever indebted for making me a better person.

TQ: Do you have any plans set for after graduation?

EB: No formal plans yet but stay tuned.

Marianne Reilly Named New Athletic Director

Last Thursday, the Manhattan Jaspers and Fordham Rams met again at center court in Draddy Gymnasium. Only this time, the two Bronx rivals didn’t come together for a basketball game, but to celebrate the formal introduction of Marianne Reilly as Manhattan’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“That is the beauty that lies in athletics,” Reilly said to the audience of Jaspers, Rams, administrators, coaches, student-athletes and reporters that filed into the facility to welcome a new era of Manhattan College athletics.

Reilly is a 1982 graduate of Manhattan College, a member of the first women’s basketball Division I program and the first woman to be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

“This was a perfect homecoming for me,” she said. “It all came full circle.”

“Wow, it’s just great,” Lisa Toscano, professor of kinesiology at Manhattan and a former teammate of Reilly on the basketball team, said. “You could just see how she deserved it then and that she deserves it now. It’s continued success and it’ll be great.”

Today, she is the first female athletic director in the college’s history and the third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

“It’s groundbreaking,” Casey Silvestri, president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee said. “We’re on the right side of history here. I know that from a student athlete’s perspective, we are very excited. She’s a phenomenal candidate.

Following the sudden departure of previous athletic director Noah LeFevre in January, the Jaspers found solace in Tom O’Connor. O’Connor served as interim athletic director and spearheaded the search for a qualified, permanent candidate for the position.

The search committee consisted of the Vice President for Student Life Richard Satterlee, trustee members Michael Passarella and Fred Marro, professor Shawn Ladda, Vice President for Human Resources Barbara Fabe and Silvestri.

The process took two and a half months, as the committee members reviewed over 50 applicants. As the list was narrowed down to just four finalists, it was Reilly who had the spark that the committee wanted.

“You heard it today,” Satterlee said. “Not only 30 years of experience, not only a firm understanding of Division I college athletics, but this special connection with the college.”

What made Reilly stand out from the other applicants was her résumé, Silvestri said. She noted all of Reilly’s accomplishments and how it was a big perk that Reilly was also the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship at Manhattan.

“She seems really invested in whatever she does,” Silvestri said. Her résumé speaks for itself. You could tell genuinely in her interviews that her heart lies with Manhattan.”

Reilly spent the past 30 years at Fordham University, where she served on the leadership team of Fordham’s athletic department.

There, she experienced the program change conferences on three different occasions, oversaw all seven of the Rams’ athletic facilities undergo extensive renovations and aided the development of many teams into conference contenders and champions.

“As different as we are, we are actually very similar,” Reilly said of the relationship between Manhattan and Fordham. “We are in New York. We are in the Bronx. We don’t have a huge footprint, so they struggle with the same challenges we do here.”

At the event, many of Reilly’s Fordham colleagues were in attendance among Jaspers to show support for a woman who made such an impact on their department.

“I think that it’s a credit to her, from what she’s about,” Steve Masiello, Manhattan’s head basketball coach said. “People from our rival school want to see her do well and wish her well here. Manhattan is bringing back a competent, successful administrator that we believe is going to take us to the next stage as far as leadership.”

Stephanie Gaitley, head coach of Fordham’s women’s basketball team, was recruited by Reilly to turn the program around five years ago. In 2014, the Rams did just that by winning the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship.

“My tears today are enough to tell you how hard it was for her to go,” Gaitley said. “The happiness that I had working for her is the sadness I have now. I am jealous now of the athletes and coaches who get to work with her.”

As Reilly begins to settle into her new position, what she is looking forward to the most is getting to know the student athletes.

“That’s what I come to work everyday for,” she said. “I think there is a mutual respect there. I treat all my student athletes as if they were my own kids.”

“Being a leader of a department, getting to know the students is paramount,” Masiello said of Reilly. “That is something we pride ourselves on and I think that’s an area she’s going to excel in, especially being a former student athlete. I think she’ll have awareness to the student athlete’s needs and be really in tune with them.”

During her speech, Reilly pulled out her basketball uniform and travel bag from when she was a student athlete for the Jaspers in the 1980s.

“I’m finally returning it,” she joked to the audience.

The jersey, and Reilly herself, have finally returned home.

Softball Concludes Long Road Trip, Record Now 9-7

As the Manhattan College softball team was practicing ahead of a six-game road trip in California from March 11 through March 13, it had one goal in mind: To win.

The team was in the midst of a five-game winning streak to get some early-season motivation. The Jaspers won a double-header against Hartford at home on March 1 and had three-straight wins at the Hampton Invitational from March 4 through March 6.

The Jaspers wanted to keep the momentum going, with preparations for the Saint Mary’s Tournament in Moraga, Calif.

“It’s awesome,” catcher Elena Bowman said of the win streak before embarking on the road trip, “it’s a great start. We’re making improvements in every game. I think it’s important for us to continue to go out and not be satisfied with that. It matters where we are in the end. Right now we’re playing some good softball so it’s exciting.”

Four of Manhattan’s six games in California were cancelled after rainstorms caused the field to be unplayable. Manhattan started and ended the tournament with rained-out games, but was able to play two games in between on Saturday. The Jaspers lost both, however, by one-run deficits. They fell to Towson and Saint Mary’s 1-0 and 2-1 respectively.

Jaspers Softball.png

The Jaspers bounced back later in the week at the St. John’s Invitational in Queens going 2-2. The Jaspers opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Howard, however, dropped the next two games, 2-1 against St. John’s and 8-6 versus Samford. The Jaspers concluded the tournament with an 11-2 thrashing of Fairleigh Dickinson.

“We have to take it game by game,” first baseman Jenn Vazquez said of the long road trip. “From these past couple of games on the road we’ve made our mistakes and its different than playing at home. We’re trying to find our groove and I think we are definitely picking up on it. We’ve won five on the road but it’s important to never be satisfied. Keep moving forward.”

Manhattan will return home and have four games within a span of about a week. That will follow by the start of the Jaspers’ MAAC play on April 2 against Siena. Vazquez and Bowman said that the team has been preparing and what they have learned on the road trip will help get them ready for tournament play.

“It dusts the rust off,” Bowman said. “It shows us what we need to work on. It shows us our areas where we are weak. When we come back to practice during the week, that’s what we focus on. It overall makes us stronger going into MAAC.

A major aspect that the Jaspers are focusing on this season is defense. They want to have strong pitching and defense every game, both Vazquez and Manhattan’s assistant coach Cat Clifford said. The team knows that it can produce offensively but that defense is the most critical.

“It’s important for us to just go out every game and play our best” Vazquez said. “We want to focus on things that maybe we aren’t so good at and to become great at those. I think the most important thing for us right now is to go out and play our defense. Keep winning games.”

“We’ve had some issues with giving other teams opportunities,” Clifford said. “Luckily our bats have been alive so we’ve been able to save ourselves. But we really need to make sure that we have good defense.”

So far this season, the Jaspers stand at 9-7. Freshman Lauren Pitney earned MAAC Rookie of the Week on March 8 after hitting a combined .412 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in five games the week prior, all Manhattan victories.

Stephanie Kristo, also a freshman, was named MAAC Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 23 after recording two wins during the season-opening invitational in Florida. She went 2-1 with 12 strikeouts over 14.1 innings pitched in three tournament appearances.

“We’ve had a good season so far and we want to keep that going,” Clifford said. “Go in with a good mindset.”


Women’s Basketball Drops Last Game, Will be 5th or 6th Seed


With a fourth seed spot on the line going into the conference tournament, Manhattan’s women’s basketball team came up short in their senior day matchup against Rider. The Jaspers fell 56-49 to the Broncs, who are just 5-15 in the MAAC.

Manhattan’s finishing record is 14-15 overall and 11-9 in the MAAC, their first winning record for the first time since 2011-2012. They clinched on Feb. 26 in their 60-43 victory over Saint Peter’s.

Before the game, Manhattan honored their five seniors Crystal Ross, Blake Underhill, Shayna Ericksen, Jacqui Thompson and Kylla Champagne. Head coach John Olenowski called them the “leadership class” as they brought a combined 400 games of collegiate experience into the 2015-2016 season. They are the largest senior class he has had in his seven seasons at Manhattan.

“We didn’t give up; we fought back,” Olenowski said after the loss. “We really tried hard to come back. We didn’t give up. We didn’t pack it in. We really came after them to try and get the win.”

Manhattan started out ahead with a layup from Ross before Rider quickly took the lead. The Jaspers got the lead back and ran with it to finish the first period up 12-8. Ross led with five points in her seven minutes played.

“I think at the start of the game we were a little bit sluggish,” Olenowski said. “I think [Rider] really capitalized on that and got the early lead. We were playing catch up it seemed like the whole game. We needed to have a better start and we needed to have more energy the entire game. So the slow start hurt us and unfortunately we couldn’t catch up later on.”

Manhattan bounced back in the second half with 18 points in the third period. Ross and Tatum led the Jaspers with seven points each in the third. Both Ross and Champagne had three rebounds. In the fourth period, Champagne led with three offensive rebounds and eight overall. Ross notched seven total defensive rebounds to lead the team. Both Champagne and Underhill played a team-high 34 minutes each and Tatum was third with 32 minutes.

Olenowski noted some positives to take from the loss, including Ross and Amani Tatum’s strong showings. Ross led the team with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Tatum had 11 points and four steals in the second half after being scoreless in the first.

Looking toward the upcoming tournament, the Jaspers can secure a first-round bye as the fifth seed if Monmouth loses to Saint Peter’s and will face Fairfield in the quarterfinals on Saturday March 5. If Monmouth wins against Saint Peter’s, however, the Jaspers will fall to the sixth seed and have to play a first-round game against Saint Peter’s on Thursday March 3.

“We have been preparing for the MAACs all year round,” Olenowski said.” We always have a one game at a time situation. So, I think that we’ll just keep going and realize that the next game we play is the biggest game that we play. We’ll keep it as a one game at a time season.”

According to NCAA statistics as of Feb. 26, Manhattan ranks among the top 20 Division I programs nationally in three categories. They stand at 15th place with 10.8 steals per game and 18th with 291 total steals on the season. They are 20th in turnovers forced with 20.37.

They also stand at 48th in the country with 4.7 blocks per game, 49th in blocks overall with 127 and 51st with a turnover margin of +3.11. Tatum is fourth nationally in steals and fifth in steals per game (91 and 3.37). Kayla Grimme ranks 29th in blocks with 65 and 32nd in blocks per game with 2.41.


Women’s Basketball Looks for a Strong Regular Season Finish


After finishing last season with only three wins overall, Manhattan’s women’s basketball team is just two games out of third place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season.

With under two weeks remaining until the conference tournament, the Jaspers are currently in fifth place. Head coach John Olenowski said that they want to improve to at least fourth place.

“It feels tremendous,” Olenowski said. “Last year was a struggle and to be in the upper echelon of the conference is what our goal was all season long. We are so happy that we are close to that goal.”

Last season, the team was in last place with a 3-27 overall record. They are currently 9-7 in the MAAC and 12-13 overall. They are coming off of a two-point loss to Canisius, just missing their final shot at the buzzer.

“Compared to last season, our team chemistry is much better,” guard Jacqui Thompson said. “We all have the common goal of getting to the championship, getting a bye the first round. I think everyone’s mindset is way different than last year.”

Differences between this season and last season are more depth and chemistry among the team as well as more player experience. Olenowski has emphasized defense for his team and it has shown significantly this season. With that comes more team and individual success.

Amani Tatum averages a team-best 11.6 points per game and leads the conference with 3.2 steals. Center, Kayla Grimme has 61 blocks on the season so far, equaling the second-highest total in program history for a single season. She averages 2.5 per game, which is the second-best in the conference. Shayna Ericksen and Blake Underhill average 7.5 and 6.5 points per game, respectively.   

“I think individual goals are great,” Olenowski said, “because we all kind of share them. Everyone is really happy for every player. So it’s a really positive thing that individual goals are being celebrated by the whole team.”

“Certainly, we feel that we can do very well in the conference tournament,” he continued. “So we are hoping we have a good shot to win it and get into the postseason tournament.”

Manhattan’s shot at winning the tournament might be aided by its place in the standings by the end of the season. One aspect to look at for the Jaspers is the rest of their regular season schedule. They have the easiest schedule remaining in the MAAC. After facing second-place Quinnipiac on Feb. 26, the Jaspers will finish the year with games against ninth-place Rider and 11th-place Saint Peter’s. Despite this, they are not taking anyone lightly.

“We got the hard games over with, sort of,” Thompson said, “but every team in this conference has been really up and down. Any night anybody can win. So yeah we have the lower-placed teams left but we have to take everyone like they are the first-place team.”

For Olenowski, Manhattan’s tough schedule to start the season has made his team battle-tested.

“Every game is a key one but certainly we have played all the top teams so far,” Olenowski agreed. “We are hoping that is going to be an advantage but we do realize that every game is a big game and we have to be prepared for it.”

The Jaspers have a tight finish to the regular season, with their last five games being over a 10-day period. They started the busy stretch in Western New York against Canisius and Niagara. They finish with two home games and a trip to Jersey City.

“We want to try and take it one game at a time,” Grimme said. “We’re in fifth place, only two spots from being in third so it’s a little easier to look at it in small steps.”

While the team is focused on the regular season and the next game ahead, they have a set goal on really making a run at the conference tournament, which starts March 3 in Albany, N.Y.

“We all talk and believe that we can win the tournament,” Thompson said, “so I think that’s our goal. We are going to take every game one step at a time but when we are in the tournament, our goal is to play the best basketball we’ve played all year.”