November 16, 2012
Raffetto lifts Crusaders to Sweet 16
Senior defender Zach Ziegler said he felt the momentum from their win the previous day over Cabrini helped the team in the game against Rochester.
"You try to bring your momentum from every win forward to the next one. We've been on a roll now for a little while," he said.
Susquehanna was forced to put their bodies on the line in the last 10 minutes of the game, as Rochester threw everything they had into trying to tie the match and send it into overtime.
"They were good all across the board," Ziegler said.
Senior goalkeeper Matt Salsman was playing his best, constantly being there to make the save and providing a presence on the field.
"A credit to our defense, Matt hasn't had to make a lot of big saves and when he's been called up he's usually made them," Findlay said.
One of those saves came in the 86th minute, when Rochester senior defender Jake Cargill attempted a shot that forced Salsman to tap it above the goal.
Salsman's work was not over though, as Rochester sophomore forward Alex Swanger got off a shot that hit the crossbar, resulting in an ensuing mad scramble for the ball in the box.
Susquehanna scored the goal that proved to be difference in the dying moments of halftime when senior defender Sean Raffetto scored in the 84th minute.
Susquehanna 1, Cabrini 1 (Susquehanna won 6-5 on penalty kicks)
In a game that had all the drama a soccer fan could want, Susquehanna earned their first NCAA tournament win in school history. The Crusaders won 6-5 on penalty kicks despite being down 2-1 after two attempts, stunning Cabrini and sending the Susquehanna bench into relentless pandemonium.
After three tries, Susquehanna only converted one, and Susquehanna fans could only watch as their season hung in the balance and Cabrini stepped up to attempt their third, already up 2-1.
For Salsman, it apparently didn't bother him as he went on to make the stop and keep Susquehanna's season alive.
"It's just amazing how far he's come in all that [mental toughness]. Our whole team is tough mentally but his individual mental toughness has come so far and that's what gets him through those situations," he said.
With Susquehanna up by one on the eighth round and Cabrini having to convert in order to stay alive, everyone held their breath for what was next. Cabrini junior midfielder Gabe Kuhn couldn't score, giving Susquehanna a win.
Ziegler said he was thrilled to have come out on top in the end, especially since it went into penalty kicks. "I was just super pumped," he said.
Susquehanna's first got on the board in the 74th minute when freshman midfielder Samuel Tana knocked the ball in the net off of a rebound.
As the clock approached the 90th minute, the game appeared to be over, but Cabrini was given hope when they were awarded a free kick in the 88th minute. On the ensuing kick, an own goal tied the game.
The Crusaders will travel to San Antonio, Texas to face Ohio Northern in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m.
SPORTS HEADLINESFarewells aren't easy for field hockey seniors Personal-bests help in XC regional meet SU clips Eagles' wings in victory Raffetto lifts Crusaders to Sweet 16
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