Jaspers Advance to MAAC Finals With Overtime Win
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Mere moments after Manhattan Volleyball won three straight sets to defeat Iona in a five set thriller at Draddy Gymnasium, the Jaspers men's soccer team beat the second seeded Gaels 1-0 in double overtime in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Semifinals at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Sunday afternoon.
The victory was incredibly emotional and hard fought as both sides had countless scoring chances throughout the contest. Freshman Eugene Heerschapp saw numerous opportunities in the first half but could not put any past Iona keeper Barjo Barbero while his defense stood stall in front of George Ellis, who notched his second straight shutout in the tournament.
Iona's Angser Otto proved to be the biggest threat in the match with his speed and relentless efforts on net. In the second half, he had three shots that went wide or high of the goal to keep the match scoreless. As the time wound down, overtime began and saw the Gaels continue to up the pressure and aggressive play creating multiple quality chances. The first extra period also ended scoreless sending both teams to a second overtime.
Less than a minute in to the second extra frame, Carlo Giachino sent a cross towards the box that Herrschapp was able to redirect in to the net for an emotional win. The goal was the freshman's first of his collegiate season and propels the Jaspers (5-14-1) to their first MAAC title game since 1994.
Otto ended up leading the Gaels in total shots firing seven, with two finding the net. Ellis was able to make a total of seven saves with his teammates helping to deflect an open-net shot away and kept a scoreless game going. Barbero made five saves in the effort as Iona faced 15 total shots while the Jaspers defended 22 total attempts.
Manhattan will meet top-seeded Fairfield in the finals on Mon., Nov. 7 at noon and can be seen on ESPN3. The Stags defeated Manhattan 2-0 in their regular season matchup back on Oct. 28 and easily beat #5 Marist in their semifinal. This marks just the second time in program history the Jaspers will play for the conference championship.
Fairfield is led by the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year in goalkeeper Michael O'Keefe, Rookie of the Year Jordan Ayris and Coach of the Year Carl Rees. The Stags entered the MAAC Tournament with an impressive 8-0-1 conference record.