Griffs prepare for Jaspers, hoping to remain unbeaten in MAAC

By Robert Janish

Senior Sports Reporter

The Griffs began their 2016 campaign with an intense non-conference schedule, in which they faced opponents like the Louisville Cardinals, Ohio State Buckeyes and the Syracuse Orange.

This seems to have prepared the team for their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule as it is off to a good start. The Griffs picked up victories over the Fairfield Stags at home and the Quinnipiac Bobcats on the road by scores of 12-6 and 12-7, respectively. The next conference foe that face the Griffs are the Manhattan Jaspers, who they will play at home this Saturday at noon

The Jaspers, on the other hand, have suffered two tough defeats to begin their 2016 MAAC campaign. Losing 10-9 to the Siena Rams and 7-6 to the Monmouth Hawks has them limping into Saturday’s game looking for their first victory against the Griffs who currently sit unbeaten in the MAAC.

Head Coach Scott Teeter believes the amount of time the team has to prepare should be a great benefit to them. “We’ve had ample time, like having a bye week this week, so we have a little bit of extra time to rest up.”

Teeter says that while the team has had a lot of days to rest, he believes they will be able to use it to their advantage in this critical tilt of MAAC opponents on Saturday.

Senior attacker Taylor Giglio says that Teeter has been telling his squad to take no one lightly because “everyone’s very competitive in the MAAC, we came off a great game against Syracuse and we want to continue to play at that level.”

“What scares me the most about Manhattan is they’re scoring goals,” Teeter said. He adds that the Jaspers perhaps are not the same team that they have been able to contain in past seasons. “We can’t take them lightly, we got to be ready and be ready to go and play for a full 60 minutes.” Teeter says that it’s key to remain consistent and make the opponents play to their level.

Giglio adds that the team chemistry was a bit lacking when the year started, “and I think that forced us to rely on each other and that’s helped build team chemistry.” She said great progress has been made with recent victories “and we’re just building off of that.”

Giglio is currently one of the Griffs’ top players, scoring 21 goals along with 11 assists to accrue a total of 32 points thus far in her final collegiate campaign for Teeter’s squad.

When it comes to containing the Jaspers and their fast-scoring offense, defense seems to be the key because Teeter believes the best way to beat Manhattan is to play his team’s game. “Even though they’re scoring goals I don’t know if they’ve seen a caliber of defense like they’re going to see from my team.”

“I think that was a huge game for us because they’re a ranked team, they’re # 4 currently in the nation and I think that was a confidence booster and it really showed us what we’re capable of,” Giglio said of their matchup with the nationally-ranked Syracuse Orange last week. She adds it set the bar to continue playing at that pace going forward.

“Every MAAC game’s huge,” Teeter added about the importance of a victory over Manhattan. Staying unbeaten is also very important in order to host the MAAC tournament. “If we can go undefeated, then we get to host and play the championship on our home turf and in front of our fans.” Teeter says every win is important because “you want to control your own fate and take care of business. Right now, it’s one game at a time and you need to win those games

“Any win in the MAAC is really important,” Giglio said, and she added “our goal is to host the tournament this year and knocking off teams one-by-one is what we need to do in order to win, so a win on Saturday would be a huge step in that direction.”

Giglio believes “that’s going to be very important” to keep Manhattan’s top players from scoring. “It will be a good test for our defense, they’re a pretty good team this year, so it’s just building for what’s to come later on in the season, such as playoffs. It’s always helping us get better so it’s going to be really important to keep some of those players shut off so they can’t get in there.”

Teeter added that every win is important because “you want to control your own fate and take care of business. Right now, it’s one game at a time and you need to win those games”

Following Saturday’s matchup against the Jaspers, the Griffs head to Albany to take on Siena College, then come back home to play Monmouth next Saturday as they head into the heat of MAAC play and continue to push toward their goal of  another MAAC championship.

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