Lady Jaspers Drop Heartbreaker to Blue Devils

RIVERDALE, N.Y. - In a wild finish at Gaelic Park, Manhattan (2-2) fell to Central Connecticut State (2-2) 18-17 on Thursday evening in Riverdale, N.Y.

Playing the entirety of the contest through heavy rainfall and gusty winds, the Lady Jaspers had all but clinched their third- straight win before the Blue Devils put together a remarkable five-goal rally late to steal the victory.

In one of the highest scoring games in program history, both teams combined for 35 goals, 14 different players netted at least one tally in 60 minutes of action. For Manhattan, junior attacker Chrissy Gutenberger (Stony Point, N.Y./North Rockland) had a game-high five goals in her first match of 2011, hitting the 100-goal plateau in just her third season with the program.

Adding to the offensive totals, senior attacker Tara Convery (Carmel, N.Y./Mahopac) and freshman counterpart Kelsey Rehain (Suffern, N.Y./Suffern) each chipped in with three scores.

Equally as impressive, Blue Devils attacker Michele Conway had five goals while Meaghan McCurry added four overall.

After Manhattan took an early 1-0 lead on a goal by senior center Phelicia VanOverbeke (Grosse Point, Mich./Grosse Point North) with 27:31 remaining in the opening half, Central would answer with three-straight from Conway to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead at the 21:26 mark.

Responding with a 6-1 run to make it 7-4 Manhattan with 4:14 remaining in the half, the Lady Jaspers swung momentum in their favor after a pair of goals by freshman attacker Maria Toscano (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) and classmate Rehain, and one apiece from Convery and junior wing Elizabeth Dugan (Stony Point, N.Y./North Rockland). The Blue Devils would close strong with two of their own to cut the deficit to 7-6 at the break.

Opening up the second half, Gutenberger took the game into her own hands, scoring four of the next eight goals to push the Lady Jaspers to a 13-8 advantage with 19:24 remaining. After a quick strike by Mackenzy Ryan cut the score to 13-9, senior attacker Julia Lavelle (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) and Rehain went back-to-back on the scoreboard to give Manhattan their largest lead at 15-9 with 15:58 left.

However, on this night it would be Central who was firing on all cylinders down the stretch. Using a 9-2 run to finish the game, the Blue Devils seemed to win every battle late in picking up the come-from-behind victory. Starting with a goal at the 14:51 mark, they would outscore Manhattan 4-1 in the next eight minutes to close the gap to 16-13 with 6:57 remaining.

Feeling the game slipping away, Convery answered with a goal at the 6:23 mark of the second to lift the Jaspers to a 17- 13 advantage but there was simply no stopping the Blue Devils. Scoring the last five goals, Central netted three scores in five minutes to pull within one at 17-16 and set up a hair-raising final minute of play.

With Manhattan desperately trying to hang on, it was the Blue Devils who came up big with two final goals. First, Betsy Vendel would rip a shot past Jaspers sophomore goalkeeper Julia DiBernardo (Loudonville, N.Y./Shaker) to tie the game at 17-all. 28 seconds later, Central would complete the heartbreaker when Ryan took a pass from Vendel and hit the back of the net with 12 seconds remaining to lift the Blue Devils to the 18-17 win.

For Central, Erin Delancey recorded 13 saves in the victory while DiBernardo made six saves in the defeat.

Overall, Manhattan edged out the Blue Devils in shots (41-30), ground balls (21-19), draw-controls (19-17) and free- position shots (6-14/4-6). The shot and draw-control totals were both season-highs.

The Lady Jaspers look to bounce back this weekend when they travel to Baltimore, Md. to meet UMBC in a non- conference matchup. First draw is set for 12:00 p.m.


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