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Eagles Sports

Akapnitis leads Manhatten to first win.

Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 by Jim Konen

RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Manhattan held off a late second half push by Mount Saint Mary's to collect their first win of the 2014 season by a final score of 8-7. With the victory, the Jaspers improved to 1-5 on the year.

Mount St. Mary's scored the final four goals of the game to bring the score to within one at 8-7 with just under four minutes remaining, but the Jaspers, with senior starting goalkeeper Rich Akapnitis, held strong to preserve the win.

The turning point of the game came near the end of the first quarter when junior Andrew Hurst struck to knot the game at two with 0:29 to play. This began a 5-0 Jaspers run over a span of 11:18. Hurst scored his second consecutive goal for the Jaspers less than a minute into the second quarter before senior Pat Hodapp went off for three straght tallies to extend the Jaspers lead to 6-2. After the game, Jaspers head coach Steve Manitta said, "Pat (Hodapp) had a terrific day; he did a super job at creating and putting pressure on that Mount defense."

"I loved our patience offensively early on; the staff feels like we put a solid combination out there," Manitta added.

Mount St. Mary's scored the final goal of the first half to make the score 6-3 at halftime, but the Jaspers fired right back with the first two goals of the second half courtesy of Hurst and freshman Alex Abiog. Abiog's goal was the first of his collegiate career and proved to be the eventual game winner as it helped Manhattan jump in front 8-3.

Senior Sean McMahon was stellar for the Jaspers. He collected a game-high nine ground balls and caused three turnovers, which also led all players. "I thought this was our best effort on the defensive side of the field," Manitta said. Freshman Matt Garvey picked up two ground balls and ranked second on the team in caused turnovers with two as he made his presence known on defense.

Akapnitis made 12 saves in the game, including six pivotal stops in the final frame to ensure a Manhattan victory. "Richie (Akapnitis) made a few tough stops at the end and our midfielders really put in a two-way effort as well," Manitta said.

"We're continuing to evaluate, and the effort and attitude put in by some of our young guys this week in practice got them on the field today. That's how it works at this level...you show up everyday and you continue to improve, or you make excuses," Manitta said.

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