Jim Findlay knows it is a cliché.
Still, he can’t help himself.
It just comes out.
Findlay has instructed his Susquehanna men’s soccer team to go 1-0 every day and not focus on the big picture.
So far the Crusaders are 17-2 following that philosophy, vaulting to No. 10 in the d3soccer.com poll.
“That’s been our motto since day one: Let’s go 1-0,” said Findlay, in his 15th season with the Crusaders. “That’s all we try to do. I know it’s cliché and all, but we really do try to take it one game at a time.”
That has never been more important than it is right now. For the first time in five years the Crusaders are back in the NCAA tournament, which kicks off this week, this time as one of 16 Division III regional hosts around the country.
Susquehanna, Landmark Conference champions, hosts Cabrini (11-7-3) in an opening-round game Saturday night. The winner of that game turns right around on and plays the winner of Rochester (10-3-3) and Misericordia (12-6-2) on Sunday in a game that will also be played at SU.
A weekend sweep for SU would put them into the sectional tournament next weekend.
For Findlay, the successful run this year has not been totally unexpected. A year after he coached both the men’s and women’s teams at Susquehanna, Findlay was able to focus just on the men’s team this year. “I wasn’t able to give either team the time commitment they deserved,” Findlay admitted.
So when Susquehanna hired Nick Hoover, one of Findlay’s assistants, as the women’s coach in January, Findlay turned his focus to a men’s team that was returning nine seniors from a squad that went 8-9-1 a year ago.
“The seniors coming back, I think, had a bitter taste in their mouths after last year,” Findlay said. “They felt like they had something to prove. But if you would have asked me in August if we’d be sitting here 17-2 and conference champions, I would have said, ‘I hope you’re right.’”
Yet here they are. The only thing separating the Crusaders from a perfect season are one-goal losses to PSU-Altoona and Scranton, the latter of which the Crusaders avenged in Sunday’s Landmark final.
Along the way the squad set program records for wins (17) and shutouts (11) and is making its first appearance in the national tournament since 2008. Earlier this week a program record seven Crusaders were named to the All-Landmark squad: Patrick Murray, David Trank, Sean Raffetto and Brandon Kates to the first team, and Daniel Sosa, John Boylan and Matt Salsman to the second team.
Salsman, a Selinsgrove High grad, has anchored a back line that allowed just eight goals and 147 total shots in 19 games. SU doesn’t have mind-blowing statistics offensively. In fact, 10 different players scored at least two goals and three players (Trank, Fry and John Arnold) are tied for team lead with five goals.
“Our guys are focused on the goals at hand; we have some great senior leaders,” said Findlay. “They are staying on point, looking at the next day, the next game.”
Jim Findlay knows it is a cliché.
- College Sports
College baseball: Andreychik makes smooth transition to Bucknell
Former Danville standout earned starting pitching role with Bison
Athletics helped Bucknell standout keep his life on track
Joseph is among most decorated Bison track and field athletes in school history.
Motorsports notebook: Williams Grove finally set to kick off season
Super Sportsman Division joins 410s on race card
Men's lacrosse: Penn State surges past Bucknell in second half
Bison had seven-game win streak
NCAA wrestling: Penn State opens strong; locals have mixed results
Fausey, Brown still alive at nationals
Men's basketball: Bucknell's season ends in NCAA tourney loss to Butler
The Bison's four-man senior class exits with 28 wins on the year and 92 total, both school records.
Todd Hummel's column on college sports: Bucknell bench steps up
Now that the season is over except for the NCAA Tournament and the Bison have their coveted regular-season and Patriot League titles, it’s clear the strides made by Bucknell’s bench fueled its season-ending eight-game winning streak.
Men's basketball: Muscala, Bucknell win Patriot League, return to NCAAs
Bison limited Lafayette to 40 percent shooting in title game
Women's basketball: Bison fall short in Patriot League semifinals
Bison enjoy biggest turnaround in program history
Todd Hummel's column on college sports: All the marbles
Lafayette, Bucknell's opponent, is Patriot League's hottest team
- More College Sports Headlines
- College baseball: Andreychik makes smooth transition to Bucknell