BY GEORGE THOMPSON, SPORTS EDITOR
“If we’re fortunate to find ourselves with a 1-0 lead, then we got to be like sharks in the water,” Susquehanna men’s soccer Head coach Jim Findlay said leading up to the Crusaders’ game against Juniata Tuesday night.
Senior midfielder Andrew Murphy added, “We’re all very excited for this game.”
Findlay’s prediction turned out to be dead on. Murphy continued his torrid scoring, finding the back of the net for the ninth time this season, and Susquehanna (10-4-1 overall, 4-2 Landmark Conference) held on for a 1-0 victory
The Crusaders defense allowed Juniata (11-3-2 overall, 2-1-1 Landmark Conference) to attempt nine shots, while senior goalie Matt Salsman recorded three saves.
On the offensive side of the ball, Murphy has been in a groove when he has the ball. His winning goal marked the third consecutive game he has scored, giving him eight goals over his last seven games. He also had the game winner in the Crusaders’ 1-0 victory against Scranton over the weekend.
Susquehanna 1, Scranton 0
The Susquehanna men’s soccer team persevered on Saturday afternoon, maintaining a 1-0 lead until the final whistle and earning a key conference victory at Scranton.
The lone goal of the game came in the closing minutes of the first half off of the head of Murphy in the 44th minute. Following a foul by Scranton (9-2-3 overall, 2-2 Landmark Conference), senior defender Dean Hristopoulos sent a looping ball into the box off a free kick, which Murphy buried in the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Findlay attributed much of Murphy’s recent success to a formation adjustment.
“He’s still a midfielder technically, but he’s almost like the second forward as well,” he said. “We took away some defensive responsibilities from him, and it’s allowed him to break through.”
Murphy said he also gives a lot of credit for his recent success to Findlay and the formation change. He said many of the goals he has scored have been due to the opportunity of being at the right place at the right time.
This habit served Susquehanna well, giving them a big momentum boost going into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Findlay added: “In the game of soccer, the first goal is usually the most important. It was just reminding ourselves that we’ve been [ahead by a goal] before, and we got to find a way to defend and see it out.”
In the end, the Crusaders defense remained strong and walked off an opponents field with a conference victory.
The Crusaders will look for their third consecutive conference victory at Goucher on Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m.