Sports

Promising start, hopeful future for Jasper footballers

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In what is seemingly a continuation of last season’s success, the Manhattan College men’s soccer program is off to an impressive 3-0-0 start to its 2018 season. It’s the Jaspers’ hottest start in 32 seasons — the last time they opened with three straight wins happening in 1986.

But for Jaspers head coach Jorden Scott, his team is not yet worthy of much praise.

“It’s always nice to break records, but this is not exactly a record that we’re proud of,” Scott said. “Our program should be posting these numbers and posting more wins. I don’t think we need to get drawn on these benchmarks. We need to aspire to win more games and be more consistent as a program.”

Scott equates winning in soccer to operating a profitable business. And right now business is good for Manhattan.

“The fundamentals are always the same,” he said. “It’s the unity, it’s the hard work, the commitment, discipline and willingness to work together. If you put the right people together, that will generally lead to success.”

There’s also importance in the concept of “team.”

“In a team sport like ours, if everybody is together and everybody is behind each other, we should win more than we lose,” Scott said.

The Jaspers opened the season with victories at Navy and home versus California Baptist, before beating St. Francis College. For Scott, consistency is everything.

It took “years of hard work and building towards consistency,” the six-year head coach said. “The players have really come in and bought into this system. They go on the field, work as a team, and now we achieve what we set out to do.”

Despite losing several key players from last season’s team to graduation, Scott believes the Jaspers haven’t missed a beat this season.

“I think that we’ve continued from last year,” Scott said. “Our record has been pretty impressive, and we’ve done a great job in recruitment this past year. We have a little bit more depth and variety this year, so we’re able to change things up at times. Our depth allows us to be fresh at important moments. We use our energy when needed, and we’ve been able to capitalize.”

After finishing 16th in the nation in goals-against last season when the Jaspers allowed just 16 total goals in 18 games, Manhattan has maintained its staunch defensive style in 2018.

“We’ve become a really tough, hard-to-score-against team these first three games,” Scott said, “and hopefully that will be a springboard for us moving forward.”

While outscoring their opponents 6-1 through the first three games this season, junior goalkeeper Marcellin Gohier has been a crutch for Manhattan. After earning MAAC goalkeeper of the year honors last season, Gohier’s 10 saves in August have him on pace to pass last year’s total of 53.

Gohier allowed just nine goals last season on his way to six shutouts, tying him for sixth all-time in Manhattan College history.

On offense, the Jaspers haven’t been too shabby either, according to Jaspers sophomore forward Berti Fourrier.

“I think we got along very good in training,” Fourrier told GoJaspers.com. “We have diverse players, we have speed, we have good feet. It’s a good mixture.”

The France import currently leads the Jaspers with two goals. His first gave the Jaspers their season-opening 1-0 shutout victory over Navy, while Fourrier’s second helped the Jaspers knock off St. Francis College 2-0 last week.

The three out-of-conference victories already match Manhattan’s total from all of 2017. With five more non-conference games still to play before opening Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at Monmouth on Sept. 26, the Jaspers hope to continue that hot play.

But despite their early success, Scott urges his team to remain focused.

“When you’re a hot college sport, like we are right now, anything can happen,” Scott said. “When you’re cold, you can be freezing. We have to stay grounded, do the fundamentals of success, and work towards the MAAC. Hopefully when we get there we’ll be ready.”

But before conference play kicks off, Scott said the Jaspers still have plenty of room for improvement.

“We have so much to work on, there is a lot that we have to get better at,” Scott said. “I don’t think we’ve found where our best team is, but I think that we’re doing our best to win games.”

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