BY GEORGE THOMPSON, ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Susquehanna’s first foray outside the friendly confines of Sassafras Field Complex in the NCAA Tournament this season was not too kind to them, as their record-breaking season came to a screeching halt against Ohio Northern, who came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Susquehanna (18-3 overall) 4-1 in the Sweet 16 played at Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas.
Coach Jim Findlay said all three forwards for Ohio Northern (24-2) were good, creating issues for Susquehanna’s defense.
“They were good all across the board,” senior defender Zach Ziegler said. Ziegler said the strikers were all fast and they could all finish.
After senior defender Brandon Kates put Susquehanna up 1-0, issues began to emerge as Ohio Northern stormed back to take the lead, scoring two goals within a minute of each other.
Freshman forward Keegan Ross got the party started for Ohio Northern in the 20th minute when senior forward Nate Bascom found him for the tying goal. Ohio Northern quickly took advantage of the momentum, scoring a minute later when Bascom tallied another assist, this time finding senior midfielder Cameron Johnson for the goal.
Ohio Northern continued their barrage of goals in the second half, finding the back of the net twice courtesy of two different players. In the 54th minute, senior midfielder Chris Matejka picked out senior back Austin Windsor, who buried it in the back of net to give Ohio Northern a 3-1 lead, creating Susquehanna’s fate.
They would put the conclusion of the game in no doubt when Ross tallied his second goal of the game in the 79th minute, giving Ohio Northern a 4-1 lead and the eventual win, advancing themselves further in the tournament.
Findlay said that throughout the season a lot of bounces had gone Susquehanna’s way in close games, but Ohio Northern was one of those games where that was not the case.
Despite the big difference in the score, both teams had an even amount of shots and corner kicks for the game. For the game, Ohio Northern had 23 shots while Susquehanna had 20 shots. Similarly, corner kicks for both teams were close, as Ohio Northern tallied 4 while Susquehanna had 6.
“We created an equal amount of chances,” Findlay said. He said the difference in the game was that Ohio Northern’s were going in and Susquehanna’s shots were not. “When they created a chance they took it,” he said.
Ziegler said he felt the team played a good game but made a lot of mistakes, which Ohio Northern capitalized on. “We played well against them. All the mistakes we made they turned into goals,” he said.
With the loss, Susquehanna’s season comes to a close, but they have many other accomplishments to be proud of. This year’s team set multiple school records, including wins (18), shutouts (12), All-Landmark Conference players (seven) and NCAA Tournament victories (two).
Seven players were named All-Landmark Conference players. The players named to first team were junior forward Patrick Fry, sophomore midfielder David Trank and senior defenders Sean Raffetto and Kates.
While getting to the NCAAs was nice, Findlay said “winning the conference championship” was the highlight of the year for him because it does not happen every year.
Susquehanna may not be able to call themselves NCAA champions, but calling yourself Landmark Conference champions is not a bad trade off.