Gophers Fall to Crusaders, Maintain Playoff Hopes

Gophers Fall to Crusaders, Maintain Playoff Hopes

SELINSGROVE, Pa. — Faced with an early 8-0 deficit, Goucher twice got within five goals of Susquehanna in the second half of today's road Landmark matchup. The Crusaders, though, never let the visitors get any closer, and they ultimately emerged with a 16-9 victory.

Susquehanna (5-7, 3-2 Landmark) became the third team to wrap up a conference playoff spot with its win. Despite the setback, the Gophers (10-6, 2-3 Landmark) remain in postseason contention, as the winner between Goucher and Drew next weekend will earn the fourth and final playoff berth. That game will take place at 2 p.m. from Beldon Field next Saturday.

The Crusaders first eight goals all came in the first 16 minutes of play. Meredith Crane accounted for three of the strikes, while Emma Jones registered three of her game-high five assists during the stretch.

Jojo Franklin (Denver, Colo./Kent Denver School) set up Stefi Perry (Houston, Texas/Klein) for the first Gopher goal of the game with 13:52 left in the opening half. Goucher scored three of the half's final five markers, as Perry added a second and Zoe Merz (Westminster, Md./Westminster) assisted on a goal from Dani McCreary (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara).

Trailing by seven at the break, the Gophers received unassisted goals from Anneke Ossorio (Lafayette, Colo./Kent Denver School) and Franklin to reduce the margin to 10-5 with 22:12 remaining. Susquehanna's Becky McHugh and Franklin exchanged goals over the next five-plus minutes, but the Crusaders then fired in four unanswered tallies to reclaim a comfortable advantage.

Franklin and Perry each finished with a team-high three goals after both added unassisted strikes in the closing minutes. Sophie Smith (Lawrenceville, N.J./Madison) converted on a free position attempt with 5:03 to go for the other Goucher goal.

Susquehanna held a slim 22-21 edge in ground balls, but the Gophers turned the ball over on 21 occasions, and they were successful on only 11 of 20 clearing attempts. The Crusaders managed 38 shots compared to 22 for Goucher.

The Gophers now look ahead to next week's must-win game against Drew. Goucher will be looking for its first triumph over the Rangers since a 13-10 victory in the Landmark semifinals back in 2008. The winner of Saturday's contest will travel to either Catholic or Scranton in this year's semifinals.