Football team self-imposes NCAA sanctions

By Nick Forbes Asst. sports editor

The Susquehanna football team received punishment over the summer for violating the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulations regarding financial aid.

According to an email sent to students by University President Jay Lemons, it was discovered that Nick Lopardo, whom the Susquehanna football stadium was previously named for, and board of trustees member Joe Palchak violated NCAA regulations by paying for two student athletes’ tuition in full.

The athletes, whose name were not released, received payment from Lopardo and Palchak, which is against NCAA rules, which state, “Any student-athlete who receives financial aid other than that which is permitted by the Association shall not be eligible for intercollegiate athletics, and it is not permissible for a donor to contribute funds to finance scholarship or gift aid for student-athletes.”

The funding was uncovered by members of the Susquehanna program and reported immediately to the NCAA. The board of trustees met to make decisions on the matter and introduced the self-imposed sanctions upon the university’s football program.

The students in question are currently declared ineligible until they meet mandates set by the NCAA and must serve a three-game suspension and complete 50 hours of community service.

The football program has also been banned from postseason play, including bowl games, for the 2016 season. The program has also been placed on a two-year probationary period during which it will be “required to provide periodic reports to the NCAA.”

In addition to the ban, Susquehanna is also forced to forfeit its five victories from the 2015 campaign.

As a result of the penalties invoked on the Susquehanna football team, Lopardo has been permanently disassociated from the university’s program, meaning that his name will be removed from the stadium as well.

Palchak, who admitted to being “not fully forthcoming,” resigned from his position on the board of trustees and has been disassociated from the university’s program for a minimum of five years.

As we have seen from programs in the past, things like this do not usually go over smoothly.

Precedent universities have shown to be non-cooperative in situations similar to what Susquehanna has gone through, which is what I think makes the situation remarkable.

All of the findings were reported directly to the NCAA by the River Hawks program immediatley after being discovered.

It’s easy to think that the program could have turned a blind eye to the issue, as so many other university sports programs have done in the past and try to cover up the scandal, but to Susquehanna’s credit, they did the right thing, something that seems a rarity in the world today.

Despite the controversy, Head Coach Tom Perkovich is determined to keep the focus on football as he enters his second year of coaching at Susquehanna. The River Hawks look to improve on their .500 season last year but fell short to rival Lycoming on Sept. 3 in their 2016 season opener

Field Hockey falls short in tournament final

By Abbie Steinly Contributing writer

The Susquehanna women’s field hockey team fell to Kean 1-0 on Sept. 3 in the championship game of the sixth annual Connie Harnum Classic, which was hosted by Susquehanna.

The loss brought the River Hawks’ record to 1-1, after they had defeated Eastern Conn. State on Sept. 2 in their home opener.

Kean is now 2-0 to start off the season after going undefeated this weekend. This marked the third year since the start of the tournament in 2011 that Susquehanna advanced to the championship game.

“We had high hopes going into the game after our win against Eastern Conn. State. That was a big win for us, so our expectations were even higher for Saturday’s game against Kean,” junior forward Cayla Spatz said.

The team knew that in order to walk away from the game with a win they would have to execute their game plan.

“We were primarily focused on passing the ball well and keeping up our energy and power throughout the game,” junior forward Jordan Burkepile said.

Despite the team’s energy following their first win, the game remained scoreless at the end of regulation play. Susquehanna senior goalkeeper Morgan Ludlam had five saves, while the defense worked hard to keep the Cougars away from the goal.

“After being scoreless throughout the game, we knew that we needed urgency during overtime, because obviously we wanted to be the team to score first,” Burkepile said.

In spite of that urgency, one minute and two seconds into overtime, Kean junior forward Krista LaMaina received a pass from junior midfielder Teresa Carr and scored to win the game for the Cougars.

“We just fell short during overtime,” Spatz said.

She added, “They were able to get a fast breakaway down the field and sometimes those can really kill you.”

Kean sophomore goalie Erin Smith saved the shots attempted by Susquehanna. The Cougars outshot the River Hawks 13-4 throughout the 71-minute game.

The defense from both Susquehanna and Kean was strong in the first half, with each team going into halftime with only one attempted shot. Kean picked up their offense in the second half, attempting 11 shots, but Ludlam kept up and was able to save the five shots on goal.

The River Hawks stay at home this weekend and play against Kings on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. The Monarchs’ record is currently 2-1 on the year.

The players are moving on from their tough loss over the weekend and are looking forward to the next game.

“We take the season day by day and are looking at Saturday’s game and we are fully focused on that,” Spatz said.

Men’s soccer shuts out Soaring Eagles

By Pat Delp Staff writer

The Susquehanna men’s soccer team started off slow, but pulled away in the second half of a 3-0 victory in the team’s home opener against Elmira on Sept. 4.

The two teams battled back and forth to a 0-0 draw at the end of the first 45 minutes. It wasn’t until the 74th minute when a cross from junior forward Ryan Cronin was netted by freshman midfielder Alex Graul.

Despite getting off to a slow start offensively, the River Hawks piled on the goals late in the game. Just five minutes after the first goal, Cronin put in a goal of his own to put Susquehanna up by two goals.

In the 82nd minute, freshman midfielder Max Maidenberg sealed the game by scoring the team’s third and final goal.

Despite the win, the River Hawks know that there are places they need to improve upon.

“We need to start getting into the game earlier. We did a better job doing it last game, but we need to take more shots early on and test the goalkeepers,” senior midfielder Garian Lashley said in reflection.

The River Hawks were able to put seven shots out of 15 on net, compared to the four out of 12 shots that Elmira was able to put on net. Sophomore goalie Ian Lawlor was able to stop all of Elmira’s shots to pick up the victory and the shutout.

“We defended really well and that’s something we harp on all the time, playing great team defense, and I think that’s the best we’ve done so far,” senior midfielder Nick Fecci said.

Although it is still early in the season, playing great team defense is certainly a good sign for the now 1-1 River Hawks.

With their next game coming against Lycoming, a rivalry game deemed the “Battle of the Boot,” Fecci talked about what the team needs to improve upon moving forward.

“We need to get a little more aggressive on offense… We need to start scoring in the first half so we can put ourselves in a better position going into the second half,” Fecci said.

The men’s soccer team also played Lycoming on Wednesday in the Battle of the Boot where they lost 4-0. Jordan Logan and Kyle Mizell both accounted for two goals for Lycoming. Susquehanna took six shots on the afternoon.

The men’s soccer team is back in action on Saturday, Sept. 10 when they play No. 8 Ramapo at the Stockton Tournament.

River Hawks falter in season opener

By Akshay Kripalani Contributing writer

The Susquehanna football team lost its opening game 27- 24 on the road to the Lycoming Warriors on Sept. 3.

After winning the Stagg Hat Trophy back from the Warriors last season, the River Hawks were hoping to bring it back to Susquehanna, but their late comeback came up short. The all-time series is now even between the schools, with each team earning 28 wins.

On the offensive side of the ball, the River Hawks made plays throughout the game. Susquehanna picked up 21 first downs, totaling 357 yards to Lycoming’s 20 first downs with 336 yards in the game.

Junior quarterback Matt Theis had an impressive game passing, finishing 15 for 22 with two touchdowns and 196 passing yards. He also rushed for 40 yards in 10 attempts.

Sophomore running back Luke Robertson led the ground game for Susquehanna, as he rushed for 58 yards on 15 total attempts during the game.

Senior reciever Chris Beals led all players in receiving yards with four catcher for 74 yards.

The reigning Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year, Diamente Holloway, also reeled in six passes for 61 yards.

Senior cornerback CJ Williams led the River Hawk defense. He finished with a total of 10 tackles, with eight solo tackles and two assists.

He also sacked Lycoming senior quarterback Chase Whiteman and picked up the ensuing fumble.

The game started off well for the Warriors as they scored the first touchdown of the game on a 13-yard Whiteman pass. The ensuing PAT was blocked, leaving the score at 6-0 Lycoming.

Susquehanna was able to respond with a scoring drive of its own, as Theis was able to punch in a touchdown from the 1-yard-line to give the River Hawks a 7-6 lead with 6:51 to play in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Theis was able to add another score, this time on an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Tommy Bluj to cap off a 10-play, 88-yard drive to make the score 14-6.

Lycoming would recover however, as senior running back Blake Bowman would add two touchdowns on the ground, one for 25 yards and the other for one yard to give the Warriors a 20-14 lead going into the half.

The game would not have another score until Susquehanna senior kicker Evan Argiriou knocked in a 31-yard field goal to make the game 20-17.

Lycoming would respond however with 7:12 left in the game on a 7-play, 72-yard scoring drive, which ended in a Bowman 2-yard rushing touchdown, which made the score 27-17.

Theis would add another touchdown on a long 42-yard touchdown pass to Beals, to make the game 27-24, but Lycoming ran out the clock on the ensuing drive.

“It’s a tough loss anytime you give back a trophy game to open the season. Film allowed us to see some of the mistakes we made. There’s a lot of good we can take away from Saturday. We just have our blinders on focusing on Hopkins this week. One game season right now,” Williams said.

With the loss, Susquehanna drops to 0-1 on the season, while Lycoming moves to 1-0. The River Hawks are back on the field on Sept. 10 when they face Johns Hopkins. It will also be homecoming for the River Hawks.

Women’s soccer keeps winning start against Albright

By Pat Delp Staff writer

The River Hawks defeated Albright 4-1 on Sept. 4 at Sassafras Field in Selinsgrove.

For the first time since 2012, the Susquehanna women’s soccer team started off its season with two straight wins.

A large reason for the River Hawks’ success was the team’s strong defensive play. Albright was only able to manage three shots on goal for the entire contest. Senior captain and starting goalie Jordyn Slocum had two saves on the day.

Offensively, the River Hawks were just as impressive. The four goals are the most scored in a single game by the team since 2014.

The River Hawks fired an impressive total of 16 shots for the whole game, 11 of which were shots on goal.

“When we scored our first goal and we tied the game, we knew we were back in the game and really had to fight for that second goal. As soon as the second goal happened, we had the momentum and energy to finish strong,” senior defender Alex Edelman said.

Albright started the scoring off by putting in a shot from the corner of the box to make the score 1-0 in the first half.

The turning point of the game came with 14:36 to play in the first half when Albright sophomore defender Erica Bross received a red card, which forced her team to play the remainder of the match down one player.

Soon after, the River Hawks were able to not only tie the game, but they also net the go-ahead goal in a span of about two minutes.

The tying goal was scored by freshman midfielder Alee Pettit in the 35th minute.

The go-ahead goal followed just two minutes later by freshman midfielder Julia Hutsko in the 37th minute.

Junior defender Cassandra Coombs also made her presence felt by assisting with two goals while netting one of her own. The fourth goal was scored by Edelman.

The two freshman, Pettit and Hutsko, have a combined seven points in the team’s first two games. After starting their season off at home with two straight wins, the River Hawks now find themselves on the road for three straight games.

“I think it’s important that we stay calm and just play our game. We have to continue to work together and push ourselves. We’re on the road, but we can’t have any excuses or setbacks. We must go out there and pressure intensely, defend and score,” senior defender Shauna Barry said.

After defeating Albright, the River Hawks couldn’t keep up their winning streak when they visited Misericordia and fell 2-0 to the Cougars.

The Cougars’ Alex Gallagher netted both goals for Misericordia while the River Hawks couldn’t get any offense going.

Despite allowing two goals, Slocum still recorded eight saves on the day

Susquehanna will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 10 when they travel to Penn State-Harrisburg.

The Nittany Lions are 1-2 on the season so far, having lost to Hood and Moravian.