The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

November 12, 2012

Bill Bowman's college sports column: Crusaders continue to make history

If the last two weekends haven't been the best in the history of the Susquehanna men's soccer program, then someone is going to have to dig pretty deep into the record books to prove otherwise.

Not that it's been easy. But winning, at this level, never is. And, really, it's not supposed to be.

To accomplish things like Jim Findlay's Crusaders have so far this year -- a program record for victories in a season, a league title and now a birth in the Division III Sweet 16 -- you have to white-knuckle some things. The Crusaders may have taken it to the extreme a bit in their last four games, but they are ticking, and right now that is all that matters.

Let's start with two weekends ago. The Crusaders played host to the Landmark Conference tournament after some juggling due to ├╝berstorm Sandy. In the semifinal against Drew, Susquehanna waited until the 79th minute of a 90-minute game before Ryan Donlevie scored the game's only goal in a 1-0 victory.

In the final against rival Scranton -- the only team to hand the Crusaders a Landmark loss this year -- it took 98 minutes for Donlevie to find the net in overtime, a golden goal that secured SU's first bid to nationals in five years.

So it's safe to say that Findlay, already the all-time winningest coach in SU soccer history, got a couple of specks of grey from those two games, right?

Well, after Susquehanna was tabbed as one of the 16 hosts nationally for a regional, the Crusaders likely changed the tint of Findlay's hair some more.

See, even in the Landmark tournament Susquehanna felt pretty confident it was going to make the NCAA tournament. It was ranked inside the top 15 nationally and in the top 3 in the region.

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