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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Manhattan

We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Manhattan Jaspers, located in the Bronx, NY.

Manhattan went 4-11 in 2013 in Steve Manitta’s first year as the Head Coach with tight wins over Mercer, Lafayette, Wagner, and Marist. Of those 4 teams, only Marist (10-4) had a winning record, but the win came during the last game of the season, and allowed the Jaspers to end the season on a high note. Manhattan had some tight losses (Providence, Jacksonville, Siena, and Canisius), but was beaten solidly by Rutgers (15-6), Mt St Mary’s (16-7), Princeton (15-2), and Detroit (14-8). Manhattan’s schedule in 2014 is similar to their 2013 slate, perhaps a little harder with the addition of UNC, so can the Jaspers expect a better year in 2014?

Tyler Jarvis and his team leading 28 points are gone, but Ryan Payton (27 points), Marcel Godino (26 points), Patrick Hodapp (24 points), and Brett Madarasz (19 points) all return to lead the offense. Tyler Eidel also returns, and the big framed attackman could see more time in 2014. Midfielders like Kevin Cox could see more time on offense this year after playing a lot in between the lines in 2013.

Face offs will continue to be a hot issue for Manhattan this year. Four guys took draws last year, with each of them getting at least 23 attempts through the season. None won more than 43% of their draws. Greg Smith returns with the most experience, and long pole Sean McMahon can also take draws. Speaking of McMahon, he’s a do it all player. He took 51 face offs last year, scooped up 62 ground balls, 24 caused turnovers, and added a goal and three assists with the longstick.

The rest of the Manhattan D is also looking pretty solid. Dan McGreevy, Max Kerber, and Alex Gitlitz all return after playing in at least 13 games apiece in 2013. Add in McMahon and you have an experienced top 4 poles. Dan Sweeney, Darien Bica, Chad Steinetz, and Gerald William also return with some experience and could push for time. Justin Rice has transferred in from UMass, and there are also some freshman with good size and potential. Overall this is a deep group that should improve and push one another towards that end.

Mike Wiatrak started ten games in goal last year, and Rich Akapnitis started five games (and providing relief effort in three of Wiatrak’s starts). A freshman and senior are also on the roster, but for now the battle looks to be between Wiatrak and Akapnitis.

Manhattan graduated some talent in the midfield, but their attack should be at least as good as last year’s version. The strength of this team comes from their defense, and if they can find a way to see success with facing off, they could win some relatively low scoring games. However many games the Jaspers do end up winning, 2014 will be a grind for Manhattah. They won’t put up gaudy numbers, but they could be better at limiting the opposition.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t put up any good Manhattan videos it’s because Manhattan College is WAY behind in that department. Put up highlights of your sports teams… How hard is that, really?

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonvilleJohns HopkinsLafayetteLehigh, and Loyola.