AC Crusaders Remain In Playoff Hunt After Defeating Buxmont Torch

Northeast – Keystone Conference Pts GP W T L GF GA GD
Pts: Points; GP: Games Played; W: Wins; T: Draws; L: Losses; GF: Goals For; GA: Goals Against; GD: Goal Differential;
01. 18 6 6 0 0 12 1 11
02. AC Crusaders 12 7 4 0 3 18 20 -2
03. Morris County Colonials 11 5 3 2 0 19 8 11
04. Jersey City Eagles FC 11 7 3 2 2 10 10 0
05. Junior Lone Star FC 6 8 2 0 6 15 19 -4
06. Pocono Snow 4 5 1 1 3 4 13 -9
07. Buxmont Torch 1 6 0 1 5 11 18 -7

Egg Harbor Twp, N.J. (June 20, 2012) - The AC Crusaders (4-3) worked their way to second place in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Keystone Conference after defeating Buxmont Torch 5-4 this past Sunday in Washington Twp. It almost seems scripted that the Keystone Conference leaders, FC Sonic (6-0), are scheduled to travel to Egg Harbor Twp High School to play the Crusaders this Sunday, June 24th at 5:00 p.m.

The Crusaders started their season in a dramatic fashion by defeating Junior Lone Star FC at home after trailing in the second half and starting the game with ten players due to conflicting schedules between the game and the NJ U-18 Sate Championship Match.

The Crusaders were unable to gain momentum following their season-opening victory and lost their next two games.

“My objective this season was to field the best local talent that we could and I believe we have done so, many of these players have played with each other or against each other for years” said Team Owner and Head Coach Matt Driver.  “These lads are from two generations as we have the best young players from South Jersey, who are all seniors graduating high school and moving onto to college. Then you have the old guard who is a who’s who of South Jersey soccer with the likes of Adam Sternberger, Chad Severs, Bill Sweatra.”

“Over the first three games we had to accelerate the younger players’ learning curve as we have had some poor officiating that has directly led to several serious injuries that we were not banking on,” added Driver.

The Crusaders injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time as the Crusaders were scheduled to begin a three-game road trip over the course of five days. If the Crusaders’ playoff chances were to be saved, the team needed to come away with points in their matches at Buxmont, Pocono Snow, and Junior Lone Star.

The Crusaders began the road trip by defeating Buxmont 3-2 and Pocono 2-1. However, they were unable to complete the sweep and fell to Junior Lone Star 2-4 in a fast-tempoed game in Philadelphia.

“If you were to tell me prior to the road trip that we would win two of three games, I would have took that. Especially since we struggled to field a fully-fit team and have yet to field the same team twice,” said Driver. “However, it was good to get the ball in the net and get a few wins under our belt through hard work and perseverance.”

The Crusaders remain in the playoff hunt after this weekend’s home victory. It was their 7th game of the season and marks the beginning of the back leg of their 12-game season. The remaining five games include a home-and-home series against FC Sonic as well as rematches with third and fourth-place Jersey City Eagles and Morris County Colonials, respectively.

“My objective this year was to bring on the younger players and give them the experience that the older players have and take a long term approach of building a true South Jersey talent pool that the area can support and get behind in years to come and I think we have accomplished that,” commented Driver. “The good thing is that we are getting some of our players back who have missed several of our earlier games since the start of the league. With our toughest games ahead might give us a little extra than we have had to see the season through.”

The Crusaders remain in control of their own playoff destiny going into Sunday’s game. They must find a way to earn points in their last five games.  Only the first and second-place teams from the keystone conference receive playoff berths so it is vital that the Crusaders finish strong.

The quest for the cup continues this Sunday, June 24th at Egg Harbor Twp High School located at:

24 High School Drive

Egg Harbor Twp NJ, 08234

Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League Match between Chicago Red Stars and Matt Driver-owned Philadelphia Fever. Tickets will be available at the gate and are good for both games. All tickets are general admission and cost $7 for youths and $9 for adults.