Manhattan Holds off Late Rally by Siena

RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Needing a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, Manhattan jumped out to a 4-0 lead over MAAC foe Siena and never looked back, posting an 11-7 win on Saturday night. It was the first league win of the season for the Jaspers (4-10, 1-3 MAAC) and snapped a five game losing streak.

The offense was on display from the start for Manhattan as freshman Megan Yarusso weaved through the defense and finished a shot at the 25:49 mark for the opening tally. The Jaspers added two more goals in the next two minutes as Stefanie Ranagan converted on a free-position goal before Kelsey Rehain found Clare Kerrisk behind the net in which she spun around a defender and beat Saints goalie Ashley Holdridge to the near post for a 3-0 advantage.

Donna Jo DiNorcia scored the fourth goal of the game for Manhattan thanks to a Domenica O'Brey assist to put her squad up 4-0 with 17:49 to play in the first half. Siena (2-11, 1-3 MAAC) finally got on the board thanks to Alyssa Treanor when she finished a feed from Katie Maguire.

The Jaspers added two more goals in the half, each by freshman. The first came when rookie Claire Roediger rolled to the cage before dumping it off to Kaitlyn Cunningham as she went five-hole Roediger then got her score on a free-position chance with 7:09 remaining. Siena crept a little closer when Maggie Deloria netted a Kaitlyn Angermann pass just 31 seconds later.

While both teams looked for some momentum heading into the break, Manhattan played keep away for the majority of the time, holding Siena without a real scoring chance. Christina Fiorinelli made a point-blank save on a free-position chance late in the half to send Manhattan into the locker room leading 6-2.

In the second half the Jaspers kept the pressure up, scoring four more goals in a row. Carly Eskenazi got the first two for Manhattan beginning with an unassisted goal before adding another on a free-position chance with 21:32 to play in the second half. After Yarusso scored her second goal on another free-position, Maria Toscano put Manhattan up 10-2 at the 16:01 mark on a free-position goal of her own. In total, the Jaspers successfully converted five of 13 free-position shots while Siena capitalized on four of their 10.

The Saints would make things interesting over the latter portion of the game, scoring five of the final six goals. Angerman started the rally when converted a free-position goal with 12:19 to play. Maguire and Angerman would then add two more free-position goals to make it a 10-5 game with under five minutes to play. As Siena continued to pressure the Jaspers, Toscano quieted the momentum when she rolled around Holdridge and fired into an empty net.

Maguire added the final two goals for Siena to finish with a game high three to go along with her one assist. Manhattan was led offensively by Eskanzi, Toscano and Yarusso who each had two goals. Fiorinelli made seven saves in net, including six in the second half while Holdridge stopped nine shots for Siena. The Saints did win 11 of 20 draw controls but it was the Jaspers controlling possession throughout, forcing 15 turnovers and holding their opponent to 11 of 13 on clear attempts.

With the victory, the Jaspers pull within one game of a playoff spot. They trail the Iona Gaels who are in fourth with two conference games remaining. Manhattan will return to action on Wed., April 17 when they host Fairfield at 7:00 p.m. in their final home game of the season. It will also be the final home game in the careers of seniors Amy Branchini and Maria Aloe who will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.

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