SELINSGROVE, Pa. – A defensive battle unfortunately went against the Susquehanna men’s soccer team as the No. 1 seeded Crusaders fell to No. 4 Catholic 1-0 on Wednesday night in a Landmark Conference semifinal matchup.
SU (11-7-0) was looking to sweep both of this season’s games against the Cardinals having defeated them overtime earlier this season, but an early second-half goal by Catholic (11-5-3) proved to be the difference in the game.
The Crusaders were edged in shots 13-9 with junior forward Joey Stellato (Convent Station, N.J./Morristown) the lone SU player to take multiple shots in the game. Senior goalie B.J. Merriam (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) made five saves on the night.
Scoring chances were at a premium for both sides during the opening 45 minutes. Merriam was forced into action just once during the first half, coming up with a stop 24 minutes into the game.
After playing to a scoreless first half, both teams came out of halftime energized. Unfortunately, it was Catholic that finally capitalized on one of its scoring opportunities. With 30 minutes remaining in the game, Michael DiMarco headed a ball from Ian Smith past Merriam into the upper right corner of the net to make it a 1-0 game.
Merriam did make four of his five saves in the second half to keep his squad in the lead.
Unfortunately, his counterpart, Cardinals goalie Quinn Daly, came up with two saves in the final 18 minutes to keep SU off the board. His second and final save of the night came with five minutes remaining on a hard shot by Stellato.