YORK, PA – Susquehanna's John Arnold headed home a goal in the 78th minute to lift the Susquehanna Crusaders over the second-ranked York College Spartans in the championship game of the Holiday Inn Conference Center Classic on Sunday in York. The Crusaders improve to a perfect 5-0 while the Spartans fall to 3-1.
The contest was hard fought and physical from the start. The Crusaders carried the play in the first half, as the Spartans seemed unable to provide any sustained play in their offensive third.
Susquehanna had the best chance in the opening 45 minutes of play. In the match's 15th minute, the Crusaders' John Boylan hit an absolute rocket right at Spartan netminder Jesse Derksen (York, Pa./Susquehannock). Derksen reacted quickly, deflecting the dangerous opportunity away from the Spartan net.
Susquehanna held a 7-1 edge in first half shots with Boylan's shot being the only one on target for either team in the opening stanza.
The Spartans picked up their play in the second half as they started to apply better pressure on the Crusader defense. York's golden scoring chance came in the 60th minute when freshman Greg Bechard (Newark, Del./St. Mark's) got a long outlet pass down the left flank. Bechard drove into the box and fired a shot that Susquehanna goalie Matt Salsman made an aggressive save on. In making that save, he left the goal exposed and Austin Johnson (Avalon, N.J./Middle Township) collected the rebound. However, Johnson's attempt off the rebound sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.
The chance on Arnold's goal came on a restart as Sean Raffetto lofted the free kick into the box. Arnold got a head on it and it sailed over Derksen's outstretched hands for the game's only tally.
The Spartans tried to press forward during the last 10 minutes but, much like it had been all day, the Green and White just seemed to be just missing their connections.
With 5:11 remaining in regulation, the Spartans had a restart of their own but Justin Facer's (Prospect Heights, Ill./North Allegheny) kick went in the box and trickled through the end line before the Spartans could create anything dangerous.
The Crusaders finished the game with a 9-8 edge in shots while both teams had three shots on goal and six corner kicks.
Salsman earned the win as he notched three saves while Derksen suffered the loss as he made two stops.
The win for the Crusaders snapped a few streaks for the Spartans. It ended York's nine game win streak against the Crusaders. York had not suffered a loss to its northern foes since October 9, 2002. Arnold's goal also ended a streak of 487:21 in which the Spartans had held the Crusaders' scoreless. The last time Susquehanna scored was in the October 23, 2007 match up, a game the Spartans won 2-1. Isaac Laubach tallied Susquehanna's goal in the game's 49th minute.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday afternoon when they host Alvernia University in a non-conference contest. The game is slated for a 4:00 pm kick off.