RIVERDALE, N.Y. – Manhattan Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Steve Manitta announced today the addition of 13 new players to the Jaspers roster. Eleven freshman and two transfers will join the squad for the 2014 season.
Of the 13 newcomers, seven will play on the defensive end in their first season in Riverdale. Justin Rice,Frank Merrill, Justin Schwartz, Scott Kirchner, Ryan Rengasawmy, Rob McAuley and Connor Flannery all join a group that includes 2013 Tewaarton Award nominee Sean McMahon.
Schwartz (Naples, Fla./ Community School of Naples) joins the Jaspers after a stellar high school career for two different schools. After being a two-year starter at BarronCollierHigh School, he went on to do the same at Community School of Naples, earning All-County and All-District honors.
The son of Guyanese immigrants, Rengasawmy (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./The Benjamin School) was a four year letterwinner in high school earning first team all-district as a senior defender. In his junior season he was named to the all-district second team at long-stick midfield. (feature photo above)
Noto (Jacksonville, Fla./Creekside) enters Manhattan following back-to-back 1st team All-Region selections in high school. In 2012, the midfielder was named to the Brine National All-American team after scoring 39 points and picking up 78 ground balls. He will also give the Jaspers an option at the face-off X.
Rice (Wyckoff, N.J./Ramapo) comes to Manhattan after a year at the University of Massachusetts. He did not see any playing time in
2013 with the Minutmen but was an All-State performer in high school while winning a state championship in football.
A two-year varsity long-stick midfielder, Merrill (MountainLakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) helped lead his high school to both a MorrisCounty championship and state title in his career. He was selected to the NJ All-Star Lacrosse game while being named All-State in both lacrosse and football as a senior.
Another talented long pole, Kirchner (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baker) was selected to the Central New York All-Star Game as a senior while also being named 1st Team All-League. As a junior he was a starter on Central New York’s Empire State Cup team and the Brine National High School All-American squad.
McAuley (Ridgewood, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) earned three letters in lacrosse, helping lead his team to back-to-back county championships in 2012 and 2013 before taking his squad to a state title as a senior.
Flannery (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) will look for time at defensive midfield in his rookie season. A three year letterwinner in high school, he was named 1st Team All-South Jersey by the Philadelphia Inquirer and was the publication’s “Preseason Player to Watch”.
Looking to strengthen the Jaspers’ rotation in the cage, Jonathan Cottrell will join the current stable of netminders. A four sport athlete in high school, Cottrell (Homer, N.Y./Homer) earned letters in soccer, wrestling and lacrosse while also playing football. He led the Trojans to their first ever Section III championship as a junior, ranking 12th in the nation in saves. During his senior season, he tallied another 100+ save season helping his team into the postseason.
The Jaspers will also look to their new crop of players to help increase their offensive production. Gian Noto, Nick Stutler, Matt Garvey, Alex Abiog, and transfer Brett Johnson will all compete for time at midfield and attack this coming season.
Manhattan will look to Johnson (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) to solidify the all important role of faceoff specialist. A graduate student, he comes to Riverdale after graduating from the University of Delaware, where he was recruited out of high school. Johnson, who played for Coach Manitta in high school, helped Chatham to a New Jersey state title and earned All-American honors as a senior.
Another 2012 Brine All-American will come to Riverdale for his collegiate lacrosse. Stutler (Ft. Wright, Ky./Covington Catholic) was named to Team Ohio as a junior before receiving All-State accolades as a senior.
A fellow midfielder, Garvey (EssexFalls, N.J./West Essex) was a three-time All-State honoree, earning second team recognition as a freshman, sophomore and senior. A strong athlete, he also was a first team all-conference football player.
At 6’5”, it’s hard not to call Abiog (Saratoga, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep) the Jaspers biggest addition. A WCAL All-League selection as a senior, he ran a 4.39 forty 40-dash and also competed in a high school All-Star football game.
“We’ve added a group who brings a much needed competitive punch to our every day preparation,” said Coach Manitta, who enters his second season in Riverdale. “We’re trying to change the culture around here, and it starts in practice. I’m looking forward to seeing their success on and of the field.”
This group of student-athletes will join a team that loses nine seniors but returns 80 percent of their scoring from 2013.