Manhattan’s stay in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament was a brief one.
The Jaspers, who enjoyed quite the turnaround season this year, lost a heartbreaker against Quinnipiac, falling 1-0 in a game held at Gaelic Park.
As the teams were battling to reach the MAAC semifinals and the right to face top-seeded Fairfield University on Nov. 9, the Jaspers simply failed to reach the back of the net.
With that said, Manhattan’s season concluded with a final record of 9-8-1, which was good for the program’s first winning season since 1991.
Jaspers head coach Jorden Scott called the loss disappointing, especially in front of a home crowd.
But he won’t let that bring down what has been a solid campaign this year, bringing the soccer program back on track.
“We have a lot to be proud of, we had an amazing season,” he said. “This is a great team, and for us to be competing against these top schools and the resources that some of these teams have, is a testament to where we’re at and where we’re going. We just need to keep building.”
Callum Carsley was frustrated by Manhattan’s performance.
“Tough loss today, we came out flat,” the junior back said. “It was an even first half and we had a chance to come out and score. We didn’t take the chance.”
Carsley is referring to the first half where the score was knotted at zero. At that point, Quinnipiac had only three shots on goal while Manhattan tallied four plus a corner kick.
But when the final buzzer rang in the second half, and the scoreboard read 1-0 in favor of Quinnipiac, the Jaspers had finished with no additional shots on goal as they mustered little offense in the second half.
Quinnipiac’s William Pustari scored the game’s lone goal with 19 minutes remaining.
“They were the better team I thought,” Carsley said. “They got the goal. From there we had a lot of attack, but we couldn’t score today. They were the better team and they deserved to win.”
Scott also was upbeat despite the season-ending loss.
“Nothing went wrong. I just think that we went up against a very good team,” the coach said. “A moment of mistake and a moment of brilliance gets the goal. It happened for them today. They got a nice ball in the box and showed great control.”
Score aside, the game was both chippy and slippery as rain deluged Gaelic Park. Yet, that didn’t keep Jasper fans out of the stands.
“The crowd were brilliant,” Carsley said. “Especially when you’re trying to push on for a goal and you feel nothing is going your way. You feel the support that they give you.
“This is fantastic to see, it was a great turnout. I’m grateful that we were able to play in front of them. I’m annoyed that we couldn’t get the win, but that’s football. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And today we lost.”
Scott agreed, crediting both the fans and the college’s athletics department.
“They’ve been a great support to our program,” the coach said. “We had everyone come out today in the rain, and we just couldn’t give them the win that they all wanted.”
If nothing else, Scott hopes he can take that mentality into the future.
“We need to take a little bit of breather over the next couple of weeks,” Scott said. “We need to look at what went well this year and what things we can get better at. We need to go and find the solutions both on the training field and then from a recruitment point of view.
“We have to change some things out, but I have to give credit to all of these players and how they were able to adjust.”