Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lycoming Soccer - Warriors look to retain the Boot

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – A rivalry that has grown into one of the fiercest non-conference matchups in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the 16th annual Battle of the Boot between the Lycoming College men's soccer team and Susquehanna University will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m., at Susquehanna’s Sassafras Field.

The Warriors (0-2 overall) are coming off a pair of one-goal losses to 2015 NCAA Tournament teams in Franklin & Marshall and Rowan, leaving them looking for their first win of the year on Wednesday. Still, the team has posted three goals against top-ranked competition and entered the season ranked 10th in the nation.

The River Hawks are also 1-1 after their opening week, posting a 3-0 win over Elmira on Sunday, as the team exploded for three goals in a 10-minute period late in the second half.

In 2015, the Warriors prevailed in the highest scoring game in the history of the trophy, 4-2. After Susuqhenna scored the first goal, the Warriors fired back with three in a row, two coming from junior Jordan Logan (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area). After Susquehanna made it a one-goal game early in the second half, junior Abdullahi Abdi (Seattle, Wash./James Garfield) put the game out of reach in the 85th minute with a sliding shot into the right corner.

The Warriors have won four of the first 15 meetings in the trophy game and are looking to retain the trophy for the first time in the history of the rivalry, as well as win at Susquehanna for the first time since 1997, before the trophy game was created.

The Battle for the Boot has grown in stage and size during the 16 years of the rivalry, with the crowds in the past eight years averaging more than 500 fans. In four of the past seven years, it has been the best attended regular-season game on the Lycoming College men's soccer team's schedule.

Also adding to the rivalry is the relationship between the two head coaches – Lycoming head coachNate Gibboney played for Susquehanna head coach Jim Findlay at Susquehanna from 2001-05, where Gibboney was an all-conference defender and helped the Crusaders to three wins in the Battle of the Boot. Findlay also has ties to Lycoming, as he served as an assistant coach for the Warriors in 1997 before becoming Susquehanna's head coach in 1998. In addition, Susquehanna assistant coach Brandon Kates is in his second year with the Crusaders after two years with the Warriors, helping the team to back-to-back MAC Commonwealth Tournament final appearances in 2013-14.

The trophy is a bronzed cleat mounted to a wood platform with a plaque reading "Battle of the Boot – Susquehanna vs. Lycoming" and is awarded to the winning team each season. The host institution switches annually between the rival schools.

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