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Jaspers look to build on memorable 2017 season

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Jorden Scott’s summer has been a busy one.

Between running his own youth soccer tournament, to welcoming his new players to school, to moving his office into Manhattan College’s new sports complex, to travelling through Italy — his “off months” have been hectic ones.

“I think it’s been one of the busiest summers of my life,” said Scott, who leads the school’s men’s soccer program. “Let me tell you, when you travel with eight people in a family, oh God. That’s why I look 60 and I’m only 20.”

But being busy is good for Scott. And when he’s not busy moving furniture or touring Europe, he’s turning the Jaspers into a top program in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Last year was a breakout season for Manhattan, finishing with nine overall victories, the most in Scott’s five seasons with the team. 

The players also set a program record by allowing its fewest goals (16), went 6-3-1 in the MAAC for the most conference wins in Scott’s tenure, and hosted its first ever home playoff game at Gaelic Park.

No pressure, but what’s planned for a 2018 encore?

“Put it this way, I think we’re more exciting going forward this year,” Scott said. 

“But I think the biggest challenge is if we can perform at the level defensively that we had last year because we’ve lost three of our back four (defenders). Tristan Doran is the only one back.”

Manhattan’s magical 2017 season didn’t take off until the seventh game as the Jaspers split their first six matches. But after a lopsided loss to Fordham, a back-to-basics approach ultimately turned the season around.

“I remember going into Fordham and getting my butt kicked,” Scott said of the 3-0 loss to the Rams. “When we lost that game we took about three days off and we came back and worked for three or four days on the defensive end. Then we got into conference play and we went on the road and won at Iona. That built team spirit and that started us going.”

The Jaspers eventually won their first four MAAC games, kickstarting their memorable season. To have similar success this year, Manhattan will have to find that reliable defense they enjoyed last before.

“Hopefully we’re able to do the one thing that’s the toughest thing to do in any sport and that’s have consistency,” Scott said. 

“We were 16th in the country last year in goals against and that’s a team effort. We need to find that again to allow us to go forward and score. We’ve got to find that balance, and this is what the out-of-conference (matches) will do for us. It will allow us these challenges to see where we’re at and find the right combinations.”

Scott is particularly excited about his goalkeeper, Marcellin Gohier, a product of France. Gohier was named the MAAC goalkeeper of the year last year, a rare major award for the Manhattan program.

“He’s only the second guy to ever win a major award in our program’s history,” Scott said. “He’s a very humble kid and he would tell you the entire team allowed him to be successful and be recognized. He’s a wonderful person and one of the hardest-working guys I know.”

He’s a committed student as well with a 3.5 GPA last year. 

“And on top of that he’s so committed to improving every day,” Scott said. “He’s just a very special kid and we’re lucky to have him. But we’re going to need him at his best if we hope to host another playoff game this year.”

The Jaspers were picked fifth in the MAAC Preseason Coaches Poll, and Scott said it’s a testament to how far the Jaspers program has grown.

“I think the MAAC coaches have recognized that we are a program heading in the right direction,” he said.

The Jaspers are on a mission this season to go deeper in the postseason. They even have a specific date in mind.

“Going beyond the 5th of November is going to be important because the 5th of November is when we lost last year to Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals,” Scott said. “So we’ve made it our mission to be playing for something after the 5th of November. Hopefully we can get there. We certainly have the players.

And of the upcoming conference season? 

“There is never an easy game in the MAAC,” Scott said. “When you look at the teams in the top and bottom of the MAAC, it’s so close. When you play in the MAAC, you better be drinking Red Bull. You need that shot of Red Bull.”

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