This is a column that takes a look at all of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s men’s soccer teams throughout the course of the ’15 season.
With the MAAC regular season coming to an end, the teams with the best records are Monmouth University — clinched regular season title, Rider, Iona College and Marist. Two takeaways from those four is Monmouth, who are the defending conference champions, and Quinnipiac not seeding at the top.
The former is self-explanatory, as for the latter, the simple reason is that Cesar Markovic, Siena head soccer coach, told “The ‘J’ Effect” this a few weeks ago:
“The MAAC is up for grabs. You have your usual suspects but you also have some teams that can surprise people from the bottom. The preseason poll is worthless, it doesn’t mean anything. The first or second conference games don’t exactly decide everything. If you check back around game five or six, that’s when you really start to see who’s shaping up and what’s happening.”
This is a column that takes a look at all of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s soccer teams throughout the course of the ’15 season.
The non-conference matches have come and gone. Conference play is finally here. This is when the win-loss record begins to matter
Monmouth University, Marist College, Siena, Iona and Saint Peter’s are the current top five seeds in the MAAC, in that order. Although the teams mentioned are in the upper-echelon, the conference is tightly contested based on the margins of wins; losses; and draws. In the words of the recently passed Yankees legend Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
The teams at the bottom have been faced with loss after loss with a couple of frustrating draws sprinkled in. One of those is Niagara, led by second-year head coach Eric Barnes, who said his squad was tested during non-conference but now feels prepared and complete, in terms of his roster.
“We haven’t gotten the results that we would like,” he said, “but we’ve been dealing with a couple of injuries. We should have everyone back and healthy by conference, so that’ll be helpful. The guys have really stuck together even with the results. They’ve bought into what we’re trying to do, so we should be good to go going forward.”
Manhattan is similar to Niagara in that its games haven’t gone the way that it’d like them to go. Jose Meza, Manhattan midfielder/forward, said the 2-2 draw with NJIT on Sept. 20 showed when the team controls possession, allows time, creates chances and lands shots on goal it can reach its ceiling.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted prior to the start of the ‘15 MAAC men’s soccer season.
If there ever was to be a definition for how ‘14 was for Manhattan College last season. Look no further than the second to last “Back of the Net” column “Season Meanings.” Its opening read as follows:
The Manhattan Jaspers found themselves looking up at every other school in the MAAC after failing to win 12 straight games from early September to late October. … To this point in the season, the offense was inconsistent. They went through a 587-minute goalless streak in a span of six games and followed that up with only three goals in the five games leading up to Niagara. … Throughout the entire season, Scott’s message was about how all it took for either team playing on the soccer field was one mistake, one moment of brilliance, one horrific decision.
Three games into ‘15, Manhattan is off to an 0-3 start. Jon Reyes recently conducted a conference call interview with one of the team’s midfielders, Alex Shackley, to discuss the state of the squad going forward.
This is a column that takes a look at all of the MAAC men’s soccer teams throughout the course of the season and off-season.
As the ‘14 regular season came to a close, Quinnipiac University had to have felt pretty good about itself heading into the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the MAAC conference. Its goal, as is every other teams’, is to win the MAAC final for the championship title. It lost to Fairfield on penalty kicks, 3-1, before it could even think of a rematch with Monmouth.
Monmouth won its match against Iona College, 2-1, to advance and face-off with Fairfield in the championship. On a Dave Nigro golden goal in the 104th minute, Monmouth won 2-1. For its stay in the NCAA tournament, that didn’t last long because it lost in double overtime to No. 14 nationally ranked Xavier in the first round 2-1. Talk about irony to win or lose by the same exact score.
At the start of the season, the pitching and overall depth of the team looked to be promising. Tom Cosgrove caught the attention of D1Baseball.com’s Eric Sorenson and “The ‘ J’ Effect.” The return of Mike Scarinci from last season’s Tommy John surgery recovery and Scott McClennan from a blood clot (2013), micro-fracture left knee surgery (2014) are a few examples of that.
The Lamar Cardinals’ sweep of the Manhattan Jaspers two weekends ago showed off Manhattan’s expected slow start.
For starters, they haven’t practiced outside since October and are now facing live pitching for the first time. So their early rusty play is understandable. Plus, it’s simply too early in the season to nitpick.
“(The series) was certainly productive, but the numbers wouldn’t tell you that,” Jim Duffy, Jaspers head coach, said. “All in all the numbers they look disappointing, but I kind of I like some of the things that I saw and, in the same vein, we have a lot of work to do. That was totally anticipated.”
The most productive part of the weekend at Lamar for Duffy was that everybody played. Right now, he wants his team to focus more on the process of play, body language, effort and execution as opposed to results. Results to him are meaningful, but don’t become important until MAAC play.
The Manhattan Jaspers rebuild is over. Inexperience and injuries are replaced with experience, health, talent and depth.
Where the pitching is concerned they are impressive. It’s a staff comprised of young talent of the deepest and highest quality, and to no surprise. Jasper head coach, Jim Duffy, recruited heavily in pitching in the 2014 college baseball draft class. The top recruit, Tom Cosgrove, was projected to be a pitcher to watch in the MAAC by “The ‘J’ Effect” and D1Baseball.com last week.
It’s no secret that the Manhattan Jaspers have been in a rebuild mode over the past two seasons. The time has come once again for them to be a MAAC championship contender since their 2011 and 2012 back-to-back title wins.
Why now all of a sudden? Good, talented pitching…lots of it too.
The spring cannot come soon enough for the Manhattan Jaspers men’s soccer team. For those who did not follow the Jasper’s 2014 fall season, it was not one they would like to remember.
From Sept. 19 to Oct. 11, they were goalless in 587 straight minutes, a span of six games played. That was not their only problem. Their struggle to find the back of the net – no pun intended – also had them on a 13 game losing streak after starting the season 1-1.
As the season reaches its mid-point for the Manhattan Jaspers, the 10 freshmen Jaspers are no longer new to the team and fans.
Three of the freshmen who have been quite impressive early on are Joe Hulme, Jose Meza and Luke Greaves. Understandably so, Manhattan head coach Jorden Scott said all of the freshmen have been excellent.
“They’ve all came in and been really mature, which is really pleasing to me,” he said. “And for them you just hope they pick up enough that they can contribute. If they don’t pick up enough then it’s going to be a tough season for them.”
Before the Ivy League weekend at Yale and Harvard, the Manhattan Jaspers were on a 10-day “honeymoon period,” as Jaspers’ head coach Jorden Scott called it, from when they last played and lost to the Fordham Rams 3-1.
A couple of positives junior captain Alex Shackley took away from the long break was being able to work on an attacking style of play to try to help turn their many goal chances into goal scores. Scott said his team needs to be more clinical in front of the goal, which includes being more selfish and direct at times.
The Jaspers’ honeymoon ended fast, as they struggled to score in the last three games, all to non-conference opponents.