November 09, 2012
Donlevie heads Crusaders into NCAA's
Fans were left short for breath as the Susquehanna men's soccer team captured their second Landmark Conference championship in four years with a 1-0 win over Scranton at home.
The last time Susquehanna was the conference champion in men's soccer was in 2008, when the Crusaders beat Catholic 1-0 in the championship game.
"I had a good feeling coming into this season that this team had an opportunity to do what the '08 team did, but it was never going to be easy," head coach Jim Findlay said. "We got great teams in our conference. The playoffs proved that."
The winning goal that sent the home crowd into hysteria was scored seven minutes into the first overtime when junior defender Patrick Fry found sophomore forward Ryan Donlevie wide open in the middle of the box, who headed it into the back of the net.
"I remember going up for the ball, and I remember heading it and seeing it go in the net and I just turned and ran towards the fans," Donlevie said.
Findlay said Donlevie's goal was a product of them getting to the outside and getting down the wings toward the goal.
"The second half, we started to really pound the wings and use our speed on the flanks to create chances and obviously the winning goal was a product of that," Findlay said.
As the first half neared the 30th minute, Scranton started to sub in fresh legs, allowing them to put pressure on the Susquehanna defense. Susquehanna caught a break in the 32nd minute when a shot by Scranton junior midfielder Bill McGuiness hit off the post, as the score stayed 0-0 through halftime.
"Having it held 0-0 going into the second half was huge because if we had gone down 1-0 you never know what might have happened," Donlevie said.
In the end, Susquehanna did come out on top, and now they have a conference championship to show for it.
Ziegler said he was thrilled to have won a championship.
"There's really not a whole lot I can say besides it was the greatest feeling," Ziegler said. "Best feeling I've had for four years at this school."
As the team unwinds, it is on to the NCAA tournament, where they will suit up to play Cabrini at home on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the first round.
Susquehanna 1, Drew 0
"I think the whole team was just ready to play," Ziegler said, after their semifinal against Drew was postponed twice due to Hurricane Sandy.
When Hurricane Sandy finally abated and the teams did get on the field, fans were treated to a wild win, ending in a 1-0 victory for Susquehanna when Donlevie scored in the 77th minute to clinch Susquehanna's spot in the championship game against Scranton, who they lost to during the regular season.
As senior midfielder Daniel Sosa tiptoed the end line to the left of Drew's goal, he passed to Donlevie who buried the ball in the back of the net, setting off a wild celebration.
At the time, Donlevie said he thought it was the biggest goal of his life and he would never be able to top it, but little did he know what was in his future.
The game was a tight one throughout, much closer than their earlier meeting against Drew during the regular season, in which they shut out the Rangers 3-0 in Selinsgrove.
Coach Findlay attributed the tight nature of the game to a lack of execution. "I didn't think we quite played as well as we could have in the first half. We didn't play bad, but we weren't as sharp as we were in the first game against them," he said.
"A couple of adjustments and just refocusing on what we do well helped us win the game in the end," Findlay said.
SPORTS HEADLINESField hockey ends season Running past the D Crusaders lose dribble in defeat Volleyball loses close match vs. Juniata, 3-1 Donlevie heads Crusaders into NCAA's Kolmer brings SU back in fourth quarter
WEEKLY FEATURESNewsLiving & ArtsUniversity UpdateForumSports