Manhattan Tames Leopards in Comeback Win
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - It was a dark and rainy afternoon on Saturday at Gaelic Park, but the Manhattan men's lacrosse team weathered a first half deficit and came roaring back in the second for an 11-7 win over Lafayette. Not only was it the first win of the year for the Jaspers (1-2) but it marked the first Division I victory in the career of head coach Steve Manitta.
A low scoring first quarter saw Manhattan jump out to an early lead for the second straight game. Mercy transfer Patrick Hodapp registered the first goal of the game for the Jaspers with 9:34 to play in the first quarter. About two minutes later, Max Kerber took a slashing penalty, sending the Leopards (1-2) on the extra-man. They would convert on the EMO with Jake Mann tying things up in the first.
That started a string of five consecutive scores for Lafayette. Sophomore Sonny Round found the back of the net twice in that period which culminated with a John Floyd goal at the 1:50 mark of the second period. Trailing 5-1 in the second quarter, Manhattan earned its own EMO when Mann was called for a technical. Brett Madarasz would quickly find Paul Moreau to the left of the cage for the final tally of the half, sending the Jaspers into the locker room down 5-2.
Out of the break, the Jaspers began their comeback trail. Just 1:27 into the third period, Brian McGrath fed a streaking Tyler Eidel in front of the net, cutting the deficit to two. Freshman Matt Ruquet would win the ensuing faceoff for Manhattan and just 16 seconds later McGrath got his team within one burying one past Lafayette goalie Jake Hyatt. The Jaspers would tie up the game at five apiece when Eidel got his second point of the day, assisting on Marcel Godino's goal with 10:33 to play in the third. Manhattan would control tempo the rest of the way, holding the Leopards scoreless in the period going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw another lightning fast strike for Manhattan with Sean McMahon finding Ryan Payton just 12 seconds in to give the Jaspers their first lead of the game, one they would not relinquish. Manhattan went on to double up Lafayette by a score of 10-5, completing an eight goal run dating back to Moreau's strike in the first half, with 5:15 remaining in regulation.
The Leopards ended that streak when Brian Bock scored the teams' first goal of the second half with just 4:51 left to play. Alex Grandal would quickly answer for Manhattan, becoming the eighth different player to score in the game. Lafayette would get one final tally when Round completed his hat trick with 3:33 to go.
Manhattan's defense was key in the victory causing 18 turnovers, 10 in the second half, and allowing only four shots in the third quarter. Meanwhile, their man-down defense was even more impressive. After giving up the early EMO goal in the first, the Jaspers held Lafayette to 0-5 the rest of the way.
Sophomore Michael Wiatrak earned the victory in net, making 10 saves while Hyatt stopped 11 shots in net for the Leopards. Lafayette did win the battle at the faceoff, winning 13 of the games 20. Payton had a game high four points for Manhattan, including a team high three goals.
The Jaspers return to action on Sat. March 2, when they travel to Providence, R.I. to take on the Friars at 1 p.m.