|Jaspers Canít Complete Comeback Against VMI|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - The Manhattan Jaspers men's lacrosse team scored the first goal of the game but gave up four in a row to Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and never recovered in a 9-7 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) loss on Saturday afternoon. The defeat was the first Manhattan (5-6, 1-2 MAAC) suffered at Gaelic Park this season. The loss also spoiled the 10th Anniversary of the 2002 MAAC Championship team who was honored at halftime.
Freshman Kevin Cox scored first for the Jaspers, putting them up 1-0 before Drew Leonard rifled an equalizer for the Keydets (2-9, 1-3 MAAC). The game was knotted up at one a piece going into the second quarter, but VMI reeled of three straight while shutting out Manhattan to take a 4-1 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, VMI looked to keep the pressure on with another goal scored 30 seconds in by Mickey Hofmeister as he took a long pass from goalkeeper Matt Lindemann and got out on the break to put his squad up by four.
The Jaspers would begin their trek on the comeback trail at that point. Brett Madarasz put Manhattan on the board snapping a scoreless drought of more than 24 minutes of game time. The Keydets answered right back and pushed the lead up to 6-2 before Manhattan rallied off three consecutive goals of the sticks of Cox, Tyler Jarvis, and Andrew Hurst to cut the lead to one with 4:24 remaining in the third period.
VMI however would not allow their lead to be overcome as Russell East scored the final two goals of his hat trick to make it 8-5 Keydets going into the final quarter. Looking to play keep away, VMI continued to hold the ball and not allow Manhattan to get in an offensive rhythm.
After a turnover finally gave the Jaspers possession, Madarasz scored his second goal of the game with 6:36 to play in regulation again cutting the deficit to tw. VMI would once again have the answer when Mike DeBlasio took a feed from Bernie Mowbray and buried it over the left shoulder of Jasper goalkeeper Rich Akapnitis.
Jarvis attempted to get his squad a bit closer with a rifle of a goal late in the fourth to make it 9-7 in favor of VMI with 3:39 remaining by Manhattan was unable to muster another goal as they had their brief two game win streak snapped. Cox scored a career high two goals while adding an assist for one of his better offensive outputs in his young career.
Akapnitis (3-3) made a total of seven saves in the loss while Lindemann (1-3) made 15 saves in the victory. Manhattan outshot the Keydets 38-26, picked up more groundballs (34-30) and forced more turnovers (16-7), but 9 for 20 on the face off. Both teams were impressive in their clear attempts with the Jaspers converting 18 of 20 and VMI being successful on 16 of 17 attempts. The Keydets also scored twice on the extra-man opportunity while killing the only penalty against them.
Manhattan now goes on the road for their two final contests away from Gaelic Park of the regular season. They first visit Marist on Sat. April 14, before traveling to Jacksonville on April 21 in what will be the programs first conference game in the state of Florida.