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April 23, 2004
Vol. 45 No. 21

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Crusaders falter in key games

Crunch Time
The Crusader/Kelly Gerrity
CRUNCH TIME - Junior Justin Mason is met by an E-town defender in Wednesday's 7-4 loss. The Crusaders have two must-win games left.
What it comes down to for Susquehanna's men's lacrosse team is that it needs to win.

If the Crusaders lose one of their final two games, they won't make the four-team playoffs, even though this season has, by far, surpassed the expectations of many Middle Atlantic Conference prognosticators.

Even with two wins, the Crusaders may need some help from others in the conference, especially Drew, who faces off against fourth-place Lycoming and second-place Messiah in the next two weeks.

The last two games won't be easy, either, as the Crusaders have yet to face last year's MAC champion Widener, who is now a perfect 7-0 in conference play, nor sixth-place FDU-Florham, who is 3-3 in conference play.

Susquehanna plays at Widener on Saturday at 1 p.m. and at FDU-Florham on Saturday, May 1 at 1 p.m.

These final two games won't make the Crusaders (6-5 overall, 5-3 MAC) gasp any, though, as they played with two of the top teams in the conference this week, losing to third-place Elizabethtown 7-4 on Wednesday and 11-8 to Lycoming on Monday at the West Field.

Two offensive dry spells of more than 15 minutes cost Susquehanna in Wednesday's game against E-town.

"We didn't play well at all," head coach Ron Miller said. "That's not to take anything away from the defense. The defense was outstanding in settled situations."

Though the Crusaders got on the board first as junior midfielder Justin Mason scored six minutes into the game, the Blue Jays responded by controlling the ball, winning 10 of the 14 face offs in the game and finishing a perfect 12-for-12 in first-half clears.

E-town's Matt Newell took control with two goals to answer Mason's and by the time senior attack Matt Miceli found the net again for Susquehanna with 3:09 left in the first half, E-town was up 4-2.

The Blue Jays scored three more unanswered goals to begin the second half before Miceli scored again with 7:43 left in the fourth. Senior attack Scott Hodgson also added a goal with 3:05 left, but it was too late for Susquehanna.

Freshman goalie Dan Kotch made eight saves in goal, as E-town took 31 shots. Susquehanna managed just six shots in the first half, as E-town took 19.

"We didn't finish," Miller said. "It would've been a different game if we had converted half our opportunities."

A five-goal fourth quarter for Lycoming helped to lift it to an 11-8 win over Susquehanna on Monday.

After falling behind 6-4 in the first half, the Crusaders went on the offensive to open the third quarter, as junior attack Dan St. Ours found Miceli two minutes into the quarter and Hodgson scored two minutes later to tie it at six.

Susquehanna kept firing, taking nine shots in the quarter, but Lycoming goaltender Sean Powers made four saves in the third quarter.

Lycoming's Dave Kirschner finally broke the tie with 52 seconds left in the third, scoring unassisted.

"The Lycoming game, I was very disappointed we lost," Miller said, "but I thought our effort was outstanding. We needed a break and didn't get it."

Dan Wilcox scored twice in the fourth, as the Warriors scored five goals in the final stanza, opening up a four goal lead before St. Ours scored as he was taken down by a defender with 2:22 left.

Kotch stopped 10 shots in goal as Lycoming goaltenders Christian William and Sean Powers made 19 saves.

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