November 16, 2012
In the Limelight
Donlevie kicks Susquehanna into NCAAs"This is a better season than I could have ever dreamed of," sophomore forward Ryan Donlevie said. "If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we'd be in the Sweet 16, I would have told you to get out of here."
It's tough to disagree with him. Few could have predicted that this year's incarnation of the men's soccer team would put together the most successful run in the history of the program.
Donlevie is an even more unlikely hero.
"He started off the year not playing a whole lot," senior midfielder Dan Sosa said. "In the York tournament, he got kicked in the face and broke his nose, got a concussion. And throughout the year, he's been coming back. He's really hit his stride."
Head coach Jim Findlay said a lack of confidence contributed to Donlevie's slow start but once he adjusted, he found his niche.
"Once that switch went off, Ryan just got that confidence and started playing," Findlay said. "It all took off for him."
Not only did Donlevie have to fight his way into the rotation as a sophomore, but he also had to do so despite setbacks.
Now, Donlevie has become one of the stars of a national-ranked soccer team, a feat he accomplished after scoring two game-winning goals in the Landmark Conference playoffs.
Donlevie's first game-winner came in the Landmark semifinals against Drew. In the 78th minute, he received an assist from Sosa that turned into the lone goal of the game.
"I beat my defender and laid it up to him. I was just hoping and praying he was going to make it and he put it right in the corner," Sosa said. "We went crazy."
His second goal came during the conference championship against Scranton. The shot heard 'round campus came in the 98th minute on an assist from junior defender Patrick Fry.
"It was pretty incredible," Donlevie said. "I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to finish it off. It was a pretty good team effort."
The shot propelled the Crusaders into the NCAA tournament, where they have beat Cabrini and Rochester.
"He's accepted his role as coming off the bench and his play-making ability and ability to score goals from the winger position has been key for us. It's great when you can get somebody like Ryan that can pop us with a goal or two here and there, especially with the two big goals in the playoffs."
Donlevie is content with his role on the team and understands what his teammates and Findlay expect out of him on a game-to-game basis.
"I like to come in and bring a lot of energy and try to make things happen," Donlevie said. "I am where I am now and it's a great spot to be in."
"He's what we call a 'match-winner,'" Findlay said. "He's somebody that is going to take the game at a key opportunity and find a way to put the team on his back and score a big goal or set one up. Something has clicked in his mind."
It's been a pretty incredible year for Donlevie, but he isn't ready to hang his cleats up for the season just yet. The Crusaders will travel to San Antonio this Saturday to continue their quest for NCAA glory.
"I would love to make it to the Final Four," Donlevie said. "If we can come out of this weekend with two wins that would be absolutely amazing. Anything from this point on is just icing on the cake. I would love to make it to the Elite Eight. One win would be awesome, two wins would be just incredible."
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