Charlotte, NC – The Crusader headed up to Charlotte for their first road game of the season. Although the Crusaders fought valiantly and attempted to make one of their famous comebacks Corey Struss’ team came up short losing the game 8 – 12. It was a tale of two halves for the Crusaders as the team looked stagnant in the first half and came out swinging in the second. Offensively, it was a freshman and senior that gave the Crusaders an offensive spark. On the other side of the ball, it was smart fundamental play that saved the Crusaders late in the game from giving up a season high in goals allowed.
The first half was ugly for the Crusaders as the team gave up six goals in transition, while allowing three goals during six-on-six play. Transition was the dagger for the Crusaders as the team struggled to match-up as the ball transferred to the defensive end. The half might have been bad worse if the offense for the Crusaders had not held the ball for the majority of the half. Statistically the Crusaders dominated the Royals by posting a plus 17 in the shot column and a plus three in the ground ball column. Despite the effort the Crusaders went into halftime trailing 2 – 9.
The second half was much better for the Crusaders as the team outscored the Royals 6 – 3 in the half. The offensive fire power came in the fourth quarter as Thomas Cecere (Freshman) netted two man-up goals and Alex Proly (Senior) scored his second of the afternoon off an incredible play finishing in tight. Defensively, the Crusaders started to cause turnovers by forcing shot clock violations and picking up ground balls given up by the Royals.
In the end, the Crusaders stick work was the downfall of the day as the team combined for 24 turnovers. The team fought tooth-and-nail to cover for these mistakes however, came up short ultimately dropping the contest.
Individually, Alex Proly and Thomas Cecere both scored 2 goals; while Kyle Huntziker (Senior), Matt Somjak (Senior), Austin Dixon (Junior), and Derrick Shealy all scored a goal apiece. Defensively, Chris Wieckhorst (Junior) had 3 ground balls and Sky Dupree (Senior) had 2 ground balls and a caused turnover.
The Crusaders now have their first conference game of the year as the fifth ranked Belmont Abbey Crusaders head to Tigerville on Wednesday, February 20th for the annual Crusader Clash. Face-off is set for 7 pm under the lights.