By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
Susquehanna's postseason fate was hanging in the balance when the right foot of a freshman struck the ball, sending it careening into the back of the net.
The quick motion from David Aurand gave the Crusaders a one-goal lead which Susquehanna preserved to earn a return trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament after winning its second-straight Landmark Conference title.
Aurand is the newest member of a group of three former Selinsgrove Seals, along with senior goalkeeper Matt Salsman and sophomore forward Gannon Keller, that have played integral roles for the Crusaders.
Thanks to Aurand's goal, Susquehanna (13-5-1) has a 5 p.m. Saturday date at Dickinson in the first round of NCAAs.
Aurand admitted that he did not have time to think about his shot before he let loose the goal that extended Susquehanna's season Saturday.
"I just thought 'I could shoot this,' and it ended up going in," Aurand said. "My body took over. I didn't really think about (the shot) when it happened."
Aurand spent years honing that motion and those instincts. From his start in AYSO to playing on the City Islanders and NU United club teams, Aurand spent many years on the field, refining his game.
His success continued in high school, where Aurand scored 34 goals in an all-state senior season that resulted in him being named Daily Item Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.
"It's a really good honor to have," Aurand said. "Everybody sees how hard I worked to be a good player. It was really nice to get recognition."
Crusaders head coach Jim Findlay noticed the potential when Aurand was a Selinsgrove freshman.
"When he was on, he was a man against boys," Findlay said. "It seemed effortless for him."