By Todd Stanford
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- It was a night of firsts at Susquehanna University's Sassafras Field. One of which led directly to the other.
Susquehanna senior defender Sean Raffetto scored the first goal of his collegiate career with a long blast in the waning seconds of the first half Sunday. That tally held up, as the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Division III round of 16 for the first time in program history with a 1-0 victory over Rochester.
"I never get to shoot," said Raffetto, who admitted afterward that he hadn't scored a goal in six years. "Anytime I get the ball like that, I'm shooting."
The Crusaders (18-2-1), ranked 10th in the country by d3soccer.com, will now face No. 5 Ohio Northern (22-2) on Friday at a site and time to be announced.
"(Coming into the season) we felt we had a chance to challenge for a conference championship and make our way into the NCAAs," said Susquehanna coach Jim Findlay, whose side captured the Landmark Conference championship last weekend and won the first NCAA tournament game in program history on Saturday with a penalty-kick shootout win over Cabrini. "But (to be) 18-2-1 ... and the sweet 16. You dream of it, but you don't know if it's going to be a reality or not."
Senior keeper Matt Salsman -- a Selinsgrove High School graduate -- made nine saves to keep Susquehanna alive. His biggest stop was a punch-save in the 87th minute off a volley by Rochester's Jake Cargill.
"I couldn't believe I saved it," Salsman said. "There was like 20 people in front of me and I saw it late. I was just lucky to get it over the bar. At that moment I just felt that maybe we were destined to win this game."