Manhattan Holds Off St. Francis to End Five-Game Skid

Manhattan still has plenty of fight in it.

Head coach Steve Masiello’s team continues to try to battle its way through a slow start and limited roster. Manhattan showed no panic as it held on for a 71-60 home victory over St. Francis College on Dec. 14 to snap a five-game losing streak.

“We stay with our process,” Masiello said. “We grind it out. We get better everyday. We’re a blue-collar program that rolls our sleeves up. We’re not afraid of adversity.”

An obstacle so far this season for the Jaspers (2-7) has been the lack of depth because of injuries. Against St. Francis (3-7) the team only had seven healthy players. Shane Richards and Thomas Capuano played 37 and 31 minutes respectively.

Manhattan built a 41-27 at halftime, but St. Francis attempted to come back on three separate occasions. It cut the deficit to eight points in the second half. However, Manhattan regained control with less than five minutes to go in regulation as Zane Waterman and RaShawn Stores both notched three-pointers to keep the Jaspers comfortably ahead.

“The first half was kind of slow,” Terriers forward Chris Hooper, who scored 15 points and had eight rebounds, said. “We went in for break and coach told us to pick it up more and trust the offense. Trust what we do on offense. Get the ball inside and play from the inside out. That’s what we did. It picked up a little bit.”

Manhattan, on the other hand, clicked on offense from the beginning. It scored the first seven points of the game, ultimately holding on to the lead the whole game. Tyler Wilson and Rich Williams had key three-pointers each before Capuano hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to close the half, giving the Jaspers the 14-point lead.

“It’s been a common trend for us,” Masiello said. “We do a lot of good things and we do a lot of bad things. I think we improved in some areas defensively. The thing that I’m struggling with is coaching with the lack of depth. You see that with the numbers. I’m happy we got the win, but I thought we made some mistakes.”

Richards led Manhattan with 19 points. He went 5 of 12 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line with eight rebounds and two steals. The Jaspers shot over 55 percent overall and made 8 of 13 three-pointers. Williams added 15 points and seven boards. Waterman notched 13 points and Wilson had a game-high seven assists along with nine points.

“We have to do what it takes to win,” Richards, who played in a more defensive role for Manhattan against St. Francis, said. “If it means me getting rebounds, I have to do it. We rebounded collectively as a group, against a strong offensive rebounding team.”

Antonio Jenifer led St. Francis with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Tyreek Jewell notched 12 points and Yunus Hopkinson had nine.

“Give Manhattan all the credit,” St. Francis coach Glenn Braica said. “They got off a plane from Memphis Sunday and came out and played with great energy, great focus and we didn’t. There are no excuses. We need to learn that you have to play every night. These games happen but we can’t accept them.”

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times

Cardinals Comeback Falls Short in CHSFL ‘AAA’ Championship Game

An emotional two weeks for Cardinal Hayes didn’t end with the joy of a title.

Teammate Delano Cowan died after the team’s quarterfinal win and the Cardinals road the emotion to their first CHSFL ‘AAA’ final. The team captains carried Cowan’s No. 90 jersey onto the field one more time and refused to quit after falling behind 17 points at the half.

Costly mistakes and missed opportunities caused the Cardinals’ comeback to fall short in a 20-12 loss to defending champion Archbishop Stepinac at Fordham University last Saturday night.

“We all felt him,” Hayes receiver Shameen Jones said of Cowan. “When we were down at halftime and came back we all felt that drive, that push, that momentum to get back, but we came up short.”

Down 17-0 at halftime, the Cardinals (8-3) received new life when cornerback Zahir Williams returned an interception for 43 yards. Quarterback Christian Anderson (15 of 29, 193 yards) ran seven yards or a touchdown to put Hayes on the board at 17-6 with 4:22 to go in the third quarter.

“We kept chopping away and made plays,” Hayes coach C.J. O’Neil said. “We had a big defensive turnover that helped and we kept working on it. Eventually it broke through.”

After a 26-yard field goal from Liam Butler made it 20-6, Anderson connected with Jones on a 64-yard reception for a first and goal. Running back Justin Covington, who was held to just 20 yards rushing, finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to make it 20-12 with 8:47 left in the game. Jones caught five passes for 97 yards.

Momentum was on the Cardinals’ side until a holding penalty eliminated Covington’s 34-yard pass reception into Stepinac territory in the final minutes. Two more flags caused a promising drive to stall and resulted in Hayes punting with 2:30 remaining in the contest. Stepinac (11-0) did not give Hayes another chance.

“As a team, we had a lot of ups and downs,” Jones said. “We lost one of our teammates but we stepped up together as a family. We came out on a five game streak and made it to the championship. It was all for him.”

Stepinac’s offense fed off quarterback Tyquell Fields, who found the end zone from 4 yards out on the opening drive. Running back Antonio Giannico scored on a 4-yard run with three minutes to go in the first quarter to give Stepinac a 14-0 lead.

Anderson was intercepted twice by T.J. Morrison before halftime. The first came at the Crusaders’ 25-yard line and the second at their 11. A 25-yard field goal by Liam Butler in the final seconds of the second quarter made it 17-0 in favor of Stepinac before the Cardinals held them to just three points over the final two frames.

While Hayes was unable to dig out of the hole, it went a long way in its second season up in the top division. It still can end on a winning note against Mount St. Michael in their annual Thanksgiving Day clash.

“We moved from being the eighth seed last year to the second seed this year in the AAA,” Anderson said. “We got here to the championship with an 8-2 record. Getting to the championship in general was a pretty good accomplishment this year.”

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times

Campus Master Plan Update

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Manhattan College continues to work out details on expanding the campus in the coming years. The south campus will be developed by either renovating the Leo Building or designing an entirely new building for science, math, technology and engineering south of Leo’s current location.

“The major component of the whole campus master plan is the new STEM building,” Andrew Ryan, vice president of facilities, said. “The next part that we are actually right in the middle of now is STEM study. They are looking at STEM as it exists now on campus.”

Right now, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors are distributed amongst the Research and Learning Center, Hayden Building and  the Leo Building. The STEM study is looking at what is happening in each of the three buildings in regards to the School of Science and School of Engineering.

Looking at those three buildings and the schools, Ryan said that these questions need to be answered: “What needs to be arranged to create more appropriate adjacencies? What needs to be renewed physically? And the big component, what needs to go into the new building? What’s the best to put into the building based on what we have now and where we are looking to go in the future?”

At the Manhattan College Senate meeting in April, three different solutions were discussed.

The first is to create a new 30,000 square foot STEM building with renovations to Leo, costing a total of $55 million.

The second option is to spend $35 million more on Leo Building renovations than the first option, rather than build a new STEM building.

The third and final option would be to demolish and build a new Leo Building. This would give MC 120,000 square feet of new space, but is the costliest option,  with a $125 million price tag.

The master plan formerly included constructing either a quadrangle on south campus along with a new building across from the Leo Building, with talks of MC acquiring the land currently occupied by Karl’s Auto Body. However, these talks have stopped and Ryan said that it “probably won’t happen on that site” and the building could be built either north or south of Leo but will “more than likely” go south.

Noting relationships with the surrounding community, Ryan said local residents will be given copies of the new campus master plan. There will be a meeting for the community to hear and learn about the upcoming construction.

“They [the local community] find out about it before we fully get a chance to explain it to them,” Ryan said. “They only hear bits and pieces of it. We will meet with them and explain everything we have on the radar screen. But we want our internal community to know about it first.”

There will be a town hall meeting for the college on Dec. 1 to explain the master plan and Ryan said the meeting for the surrounding community will be soon after.

Presently, some aspects of the campus master plan are already underway.

The first phase of the master plan includes renovating the former dining hall, Dante’s Den, in Thomas Hall. Several offices and centers will move into it, including the centers for academic success, graduate advisement and career development, the study abroad office, the writing center, academic support for athletics, the specialized resource center, student financial aid and graduate admissions.

Demolition and construction will begin in about a month and Ryan predicted the offices would be ready by the end of the spring semester.

Women’s Soccer Falls 5-2 to Siena in MAAC Championship

Manhattan 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. In a game to represent the league in the NCAA tournament, however, it was the underdog that came out on top.

After earning the second seed and a first-round bye, Manhattan played fourth-seeded Rider on Friday night in the MAAC Semifinals. Lizzy Carlson notched two goals for the Jaspers and Modena sealed the win with a goal to make it a 3-1 final. Skonieczny had a career-high 15 saves in the game.

Going into the MAAC Championship, Manhattan looked for the win in their first appearance to the finals. Sixth-seeded Siena had previously won the championship in 2010. Manhattan had a lot in their favor, but Siena was on a roll after knocking out the 1st and 3rd seeds Monmouth and Marist to get to the finals.

Siena scored in the opening minute of the game on a shot from Allison Clark. Seven minutes later, Siena notched another goal by Kristen Connors and took a surprising 2-0 lead over Manhattan, who has been known for their defense all season.

“They took advantage of opportunities that we gave them,” Brendan Lawler, Manhattan head coach, said in a halftime interview with ESPN3. “We have to score goals. We know what we have to do. The objective is simple.”

Most of the first half was spent with Siena on offense. They followed in the 20th minute with their third goal of the game by Madison Vazquez, making it a 3-0 lead for Siena. Manhattan’s defense struggled early and throughout, as Manhattan’s back line could not control the game and goalkeeper Kristen Skonieczny allowed three goals on three shots.

Erica Modena, who led the game with 5 shots, notched Manhattan’s first goal of the game with help from Lauren Barton in the 29th minute. The offense picked up in the last few minutes of the first half, but the score remained 3-1 into halftime.

Momentum did not last long on Manhattan’s side as Siena found the back of the net once again on a shot from Kensey Waterman about three minutes into the second half. It remained 4-1 until Connors scored again for Siena in the 73rd minute of the game and Manhattan’s Emily Center soon followed with a goal in the 76th minute. There was back and forth play until the clock winded down and Siena took the 5-2 victory to the tournament.

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

Skonieczny notched a program-record 10 wins and nine shutouts this season, which was the best in the MAAC. She holds the school career records for wins and shutouts, 24 and 17. She led the MAAC and ranks fourth nationally with a .920 save percentage. She is fifth in the NCAA with a .43 GAA, with just four goals allowed against MAAC opponents.

Modena was another key player for the Jaspers this season. She notched her team-leading 12th goal of the season in the semifinal matchup against Rider. She ranked second in the MAAC and 41st nationally with her 12 goals, which are the most by a Manhattan player since Laurie Spera scored 14 in her freshman season in 1998. Modena also ranked second in the league and 89th nationally with her 26 assists on the season.

Finishing up this year’s awards, it was announced after the game that Skonieczny, Modena and Taylor Salkowsky were named to the MAAC All-Tournament Team.

Oh Maya: Senior’s Key Goals Sends Bronx Science Back to Final

Maya Greenfield saw her high school career ticking to a close and refused to go down without a fight.

The Bronx Science senior was able distance herself from the Francis Lewis defense in the games final minutes. A wide open Greenfield scored from left field to send the game to overtime before quickly tallying the winner in No. 3-seeded Bronx Science’s improbable 4-3 victory over No. 7 Francis Lewis in the PSAL Class A girls’ soccer semifinals on Randall’s Island Tuesday.

“I was biting my tongue,” Greenfield said as she looked back at scoring her goal. “I was really emotional before because I’m a senior; it would have been my last few minutes. I honestly wanted to take my team there. I looked at my girls and I really wanted to do it for them.”

Greenfield had two goals and two assists and four shots on goal in the game. She has scored six times his post season, but none were bigger than her two against Lewis.

“She came through when we needed her,” Annie Eckstein, Bronx Science head coach, said. “She’s been doing that for us all season. She’s great when she beats people around the corner. She feeds balls in and finishes when we need her to.”

Lewis (14-2-0) opened the scoring on a goal by sophomore Jacklyn Lada. Bronx Science answered when Meleni Rahaman scored off of an assist from Greenfield. Play went back and forth for most of the first half until Rahaman found the back of the net once again to give the Wolverines (14-3-0) a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Samantha Margolis scored in the 58th minute to draw Lewis even at 2-2. Her second goal of the game with a assist from Lada and Melanie Feliz gave the Patriots 3-2 lead in the 68th minute.

“I think we had a little bit of a let down,” Eckstein said. “When they scored to go ahead, it was a great test for us. It wasn’t really one I wanted to have at this point but it was good to see that they stayed with each other.”

It is the second straight year the Wolverines beat Lewis in the semifinals

Bronx Science, which last won the crown in 2012, advances to its four straight championship games to face rival and two-time defending champions Beacon on 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s University.

In preparation for the final, the Wolverines are going to look at its last few meeting with the Blue Demons, including two regular season defeats. Greenfield noted how they struggled with finishing. Eckstein said that the team is going to also talk about their last four post season games and focus on key aspects from those.

“I know that we give it our all every practice so we are just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Greenfield said.

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times

Shepherds of the Manhattan College Brand: MC Partners with Learfield Sports

Courtesy of Learfield Sports

Serve each other. Recognize it as “we” not “I.” Dream big and chase dreams. Celebrate successes that lead to learning and growth. Celebrate mistakes that lead to learning and growth.

These are all values and mission statements on Learfield Sports’ website. It works well with Manhattan College’s mission statement to prepare students for the future and lives of personal development, professional success and civic engagement.

After months of discussions, Manhattan has partnered with the Learfield Sports Multimedia Company. It named Nicholas Williams the general manager of the Jasper Sports Properties team.

“We are very excited,” Nino Vanin, Learfield regional director, said. “We have a nice presence in the New York/ New Jersey area with our Fordham and Seton Hall partnerships. Manhattan’s property and opportunity provides a real win-win. There is a lot of value in brands, faculty, students and fans.”

Vanin noted the size difference between Fordham and Manhattan’s campuses and student bodies but he stated that Manhattan would be treated just the same.

A native of New Jersey, Williams worked with the New York Red Bulls organization for three seasons serving as a sales account executive. He led in most premium seats sold and revenue for three seasons, bringing great corporate and sales experience to Manhattan.

“That experience will help me flourish at Manhattan,” Williams said of his time with the Red Bulls.

As general manager of Jaspers Sports Properties, Williams will lead all aspects of the rights relationship. He will provide corporate partners with both traditional and new media opportunities for Manhattan. This could be through certain inventories such as event sponsorships and promotions, venue signage, corporate hospitality, television and radio, digital engagement and visibility through the Go Jaspers official athletics website.

“Nick has great experience in the New York market,” Vanin said, “so that was attractive to us. He was selling to a corporate community.”

On the official Learfield Sports website, Jasper Sports Properties is described as Learfield’s local and dedicated entity representing Manhattan. It states that with complete collaboration with the college, it is “committed to extending the affinity of the Jaspers’ brand to businesses and corporations of all sizes looking to align with the undeniably loyal and passionate collegiate fan base.”

The partnership gives Learfield exclusive rights to all multimedia aspects of the college athletics. It’s partnered with almost 120 colleges across the country, ones with huge sports programs such as The University of Alabama and Penn State. At Manhattan, it has rights to all athletics and an opportunity to sell to all the 19 varsity teams. Vanin said it was set as a long-term partnership but a year amount was not disclosed.

“Our goals are to drive revenue for athletics through the program,” Vanin said, “and to be shepherds of the Manhattan College brand. Our mission is always the same, to provide a service to the athletic department and provide opportunities for companies.”

Freshman Call-Up Nets Winner for Riverdale

The call up stepped up.

Freshman Julian Burden scored the winner in the 75th minute to give Riverdale a 2-1 home win over Poly Prep in Ivy League boy’s soccer last Friday. He was added to varsity from the JV team just that day.

“It felt great,” he said. “It was a hard game and it felt awesome to score that.”

Riverdale, the defending NYSAISAA champion, opened the game with some strong offensive chances. Two minutes in, sophomore Drew Dworkin scored to give the Falcons a 1–0 lead. Poly Prep, one of the Ivy League’s top programs, then saw a corner kick blocked by Riverdale senior defender Edward Hermann.

It was a back and forth game after that. Poly got a big save from goalkeeper Michael Wirtz on a shot by Dworkin in the 27th minute to help keep the Falcons up just 1-0 at the half.

Early after the break, Poly had a chance to tie it on a corner kick, but Jack Hurkman’s shot went high. The Blue Devils (2-1) finally broke through with a Ben Miles goal with about eight minutes left in the game. Riverdale quickly responded with Burden’s winning goal.

Riverdale (2-0) is coming off of a championship season and head coach Andrew Fitzgerald wants his team to stay healthy and respectful as they try to win consecutive crowns.

“We know what we did last year,” he said. “Obviously we can’t repeat that, but we have a lot of mature student athletes on our team. We not only would want to be the best team in the league but we want to be the most respected, that was one of our goals.”

After losing key seniors from last year’s squad, Riverdale is rebuilding the roster around a core group of eight returning starters. It helped to have 70 players try out for the team.

“I expect guys to step up and fill in, but bring up the young guys at the same time,” Fitzgerald said. “We are still trying to figure out who we have.”

The Falcons added 10 players with half of them being freshmen. They are also preparing for the future, knowing that they are going to lose a lot of seniors after this season. One freshman paid big dividends against Poly.

“Our JV team is strong,” Fitzgerald said. “We were able to bring up a striker and he scored the game winner. It’s pretty unheard of.”

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times

Covington, Defense Lead Hayes to First CHSFL Win

On a day when running back Justin Covington and the Cardinal Hayes offense shined throughout the game, the defense needed to finish the job.

The unit ended Monsignor Farrell’s comeback attempt when Lucas Nunez intercepted a Hail Mary pass with 13 seconds to play at the Hayes 15-yard line. It secured a 20-14 Cardinals win over the Lions in CHSFL play last Saturday afternoon at The Rooftop.

“Any win is a good win,” Hayes head coach CJ O’Neil said. “We would have liked to play a lot better, a lot cleaner. Sometimes emotion gets the best of us like it did today. We were in a tough fight with a very good football team. We pulled it out in the end.”

The guy who put his team in position to win was running back Justin Covington. In the opening minute of the game, he caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Christian Anderson.

It was the start of a three-touchdown game for the senior who rushed for 172 yards on 10 carries. Covington scored again early in the second quarter as he ran 82 yards to the end zone to give Hayes 14-0 lead.

“It was good blocking by the offensive line,” Covington said. “Once I got the ball, they let me take off.”

Two Cardinal turnovers allowed Farrell to hang around in the game. The teams also exchanged interceptions and turnovers throughout. Another issue for the Cardinals was penalties. O’Neill said the team needs to stay focused no matter what happens.

“Our problem is sometimes we have to compete with ourselves,” he said. “When we compete with ourselves, that’s sometimes our hardest opponent. Hopefully we grow and get better from this.”

On their first possession of the second half, Farrell quarterback Michael Cloppse notched a 2-yard run into the end zone to make it 14-7. Hayes (2-0, 1-0) responded about a minute later with Covington scoring his third touchdown of the game on a 70-yard run to make it 20-7 with 7:13 to go in the third.

Farrell (1-1, 0-1) kept coming. A wide-open Joe Schmidt caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cloppse to bring Farrell within 20-14 with 8:12 remained in the game. The Hayes defense responded by creating three turnovers in the final 3:00.

“Defense played great,” Covington said. “They shut them down to 14 points. They gave us the ball back and let us score. They played great.”

Defensive lineman Terrell Alexander got in the middle of a pass from Cloppse and intercepted it with 3:12 left in the game and defensive back Shameen Jones caught another critical turnover in the game before Nunez’s pick to seal it.

“Hands down, those guys made some exceptional individual efforts,” O’Neill said. “That saved us more than anything.”

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times

Reloading Riverdale Adapting to New Roles

Defending Ivy League champion Riverdale knows there will be growing pains as it reloads after graduating a senior class that reached consecutive state title games.

The Falcons fell 3-0 to Dalton in its Ivy League girls’ soccer opener last Friday on Randall’s Island.

“It’s always tough to start out like this,” first-half goalie Gabrielle Maffezzoli said. “I told my team that we just need to keep in mind that this is the first game. We have a whole season to go.

Most of the first half was spent in Riverdale’s zone. The Falcons gave up a corner kick and three shots, with one resulting in a goal, but they were able to notch three shots of their own as well.

Reiterating that it was just the first game, Leah Moore, who was in goal for the second half, said that this year’s group is starting to come together.

“We are trying to work out being a new team and I think we are well on our way,” she said.

Dalton made it a 2-0 early in the second half with a goal on a breakaway after Riverdale turned aside it two previous attempts.

Riverdale played most of the second half without one of its top returning players – midfielder Julia Hyman. She left the game early in the half and did not go back in.

The Falcons continued to fight back with Maya Dubin, Molly Fallek and Natasha Lowitt leading the way. It wasn’t enough as Dalton sealed the win with a late goal. However, Riverdale refuses to be discouraged.

“With time, we are going to keep learning how to play better with each other,” Maffezzoli said. “We are taking it one game at a time and we keep fighting.”

Despite the loss, head coach Orlando Osorio saw some important positives to take from the game. There were certain areas where the team was connecting. He emphasized that there were spots of great decision-making and passing. One aspect that he said does need work is their transition on offense from the midfield to the forwards.

The Tigers’ defense was tough to get past for most of the game. They won many battles getting to the ball first and caused the Falcons to play defense for a majority of the game. However, playing a team at Dalton’s level will only help the Falcons prepare for the rest of the season.

“Dalton has some very strong, very physical players,” Osorio said. “They have a very fast player up front that stretches our defense a lot. They have a marvelous player in the middle that is a huge force. It demands us to run faster, anticipate more and even become more physical.”

Riverdale is coming off of an impressive season last year. It went 17-2-1 and lost on penalty kicks in the NYSAIS final. They lost a core group of seniors, including forward Amaris Hemmings and goalie Jennifer Kronish and are still adjusting to life without them.

“We don’t have the same depth that we had last year,” Osorio said. “But our goal is to have a winning season nonetheless and to be one of the top teams in the Ivy.”

This article originally appeared in the Bronx Times