2000s: A Special Decade for Men's Basketball
Whether it was ringing in a new basketball arena, cutting down
nets after championships, receiving conference and national
accolades, or visiting other parts of the world, the 2000s was a
unique and special decade for the Capital men's basketball team.
The Crusaders made The Capital Center a tremendous home court
advantage in its first decade, as the Purple and White won four OAC
championships while appearing in three NCAA tournaments. Capital
also had 10 OAC All-Academic selections and 10 All-OAC selections
since 2000, as well as a pair of All-America and five All-Region
choices in the past decade. The squad also took their game
overseas, taking in the sights and cultures in Spain, England, and
Ireland. Head Coach Damon Goodwin, the 2007 and 2008 OAC Coach of
the Year and the owner of the most wins in program history,
discussed the decade that was in Crusader basketball.
Well-Traveled Upperclassmen Lead 2003 Crusaders to OAC Title
The 2000-01 freshman class on the Capital men's basketball team came to CU on the promise of a new stadium that they would christen at some point in their careers.
"The class of 2004 was a group of guys that came here with the promise of a new building during their time here," Head Coach Damn Goodwin said. "Their freshmen year, they practiced at The Hoop and played at Bexley High School. We didn't have a gym and basically didn't have any home games all year. There's not doubt that that experience created a sense of toughness with those kids. They made a commitment to the program, and took us to our first league championship of the decade."
Capital's freshmen that were apart of the 2003 OAC regular season champions were Tyler Schleich, Adam Stolly, Mark Denner, Tyler Alexander, and Chuck Bihn.
The 2001 unit recorded a solid 16-10 season, and posted a staggering 23-5 record in 2002.
Goodwin pointed to a November 28 road win over No.14 Wooster during that 2002 season as a turning point in Crusader basketball for the decade.
Capital upped its record to 5-0 on the year in defeating heavily favored Wooster 62-55. After taking a 29-24 lead into intermission, Capital extended their advantage to 10 at 38-28 with 17:44 left. Wooster never came to within three points of the Crusaders, who came away with a momentum-changing win.
The Purple and White were led on that night by junior and All-OAC First Team and All-Region performer Geron Tate, who scored 21 points in the win. Bihn added 15 points and a team-high 13 rebounds for Capital.
"It was an early season game and Wooster was very good, and we
went up there and beat them. That was one of the biggest wins for
us this decade. That win gave our guys a feeling that they could
play with anyone," Goodwin said.
The win jumpstarted an historic season for Capital that saw the Purple and White match a school-record 20 consecutive victories.
Capital came into the 2003 season with a vengeance, after losing three and two point games to the 2002 national champion Otterbein Cardinals to miss out on the OAC regular season and tournament titles the following year.
The Purple and White would not be denied in 2003, as the team won 22 games and the 2003 OAC regular season championship, with the highlight being a season sweep of the Cardinals.
Leading the Crusaders in scoring and treys (with 41) was Tony Ruberg, who averaged 11.6 points per outing. Jake Beck was right behind Ruberg with 11.5 points per game that included a team-best 53.8 percent field goal percentage. Tate also averaged 11.5 points per game and led the squad with 101 assists, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 45 steals.
The unsung heroes of the unit were the junior class, led by Stolly, Schleich, Bihn, Denner, and Alexander. The five juniors all averaged at least six points per game, with Stolly being fourth on the team with 27 treys and 75 assists, while Schleich and Bihn tied for second on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game.
Geron and the junior class had now come full circle, as the squad went from the team without an arena to a championship team putting up the first banner won in The Capital Center.
"We had tough kids that would compete and would fight for everything. They approached every game the right way, and made sure they did whatever they could to not lose again after every defeat," Goodwin said. "They had a presence about them, and thought they were going to win every game. You have to develop that kind of confidence, and that continued throughout the decade. We don't care who we play, but we just want to go out, be tough, and compete in every game."
Crusaders Reach Unparalleled Success From 2007-2009
The Capital men's basketball team reeled off an unprecedented three-year run of success from 2007-2009, as CU won back-to-back OAC regular season championships, an OAC Tournament title in 2007, and won a school-record 26 games in 2009 en route to the NCAA "Sweet 16".
Among the impressive achievements earned during this stretch included a 69-20 overall record, as well as a 45-10-league record during that span.
"What we've done as a coaching staff has never changed, but we have had kids that have bought into what we do," Head Coach Damon Goodwin said. "The most important thing is that we've had student athletes that have believed in what we're doing, and they've excelled in what they're doing."
Capital Wins OAC Regular Season and Tournament Titles in 2007
The team believed that they could become a championship-caliber club in 2007, winning CU's first league championship since 2003 with a 13-5 conference mark (and a 19-9 record overall), as well as the OAC Tournament championship.
"The 2007 season was a surprise because we were a .500 team in 2006. We thought we'd be better, but to think we'd win the league and tournament was a tremendous surprise," Goodwin said of Alge, who earned Academic All-OAC honors that season. "Brian Alge was only senior, and sometime during the year he just said, ‘We're going to do things right and get things going.' Even though he wasn't one of bigger scorers, he led by example and became a leader. He's the reason for why the team won."
Alge's leadership meshed with his young but talented teammates to form a cohesive and united squad. 2007 marked the coming out party for Nate Stahl, who was a First Team All-OAC and All-Region performer. The sophomore led the team in scoring (14 points per game), three-point shooting (74 treys with 50.7 percent accuracy), steals (30), and was third in rebounds (averaging 4.5 a clip).
Steve Kyser collaborated with Stahl to form one of the more productive duos in the OAC, as the junior averaged over 13 points per game while leading the squad with 5.1 rebounds per contest.
Ryan Wood also began to emerge in 2007, as the sophomore averaged nearly 10 points a game and connected on 46 three-point shots for a Crusader squad that hit on over 45 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
Among Capital's marquee wins during the season included victories against 13th ranked and defending OAC champion Baldwin-Wallace at home 93-85 on December 2nd, a 68-57 win at No.2 Ohio Northern (January 6), and a home victory (74-70) over the 19th ranked Polar Bears at home on February 10th.
Kyser led CU with 22 points and eight rebounds in the first win over the Yellow Jackets, and paced the squad with 14 points in the win over the Polar Bears on January 6th. Stahl's 21 points included 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc led CU in their win over ONU on February 10th.
Capital reached a defining moment in their season after suffering a 73-69 overtime loss at rival Otterbein in the final game of the regular season. Capital regrouped in a hurry, dispatching Muskingum 82-60 at home (behind 21 points by Wood and seven rebounds by sophomore Ross Niekamp) in the OAC Tournament-Quarterfinal to force a rematch with the Cardinals in the OAC Tournament-Semifinal.
The Crusaders flew past the Cardinals with a 22-3 second half run on their way to a 69-49 victory. CU's offense heated up in the second half, connecting on 60 percent of their shots (15-of-25) after intermission. Stahl (18 points) teamed up with Niekamp (13 points), Alge (11 points), and Wood (10) points as Capital players in double figures.
Capital's win over Otterbein set up an OAC Tournament-Championship home game with John Carroll, the team that shared the OAC regular season title with the Crusaders.
In a classic game between the best two teams the OAC had to offer, Capital held the slightest of leads at 35-33 at the half. The game's real drama took place in the second half, however, as the Blue Streaks streaked out to a 10-0 run to take a 43-35 lead over CU at the start of the second half. Kyser and the Crusaders fought back with five straight points to take back the lead at 50-48 with 12:28 left in the game. The contest was at a stand still for the remainder of the contest, with 15 ties and 16 lead changes throughout the championship game.
With the score nodded up at 69 with 1:12 remaining, sophomore Quintin Mitchell hit a layup to put the Purple and White ahead. The Blue Streaks were halted by an offensive foul on the ensuing possession, leading the way for junior guard Pat Stolly to hit another layup to give CU a 73-69 advantage with under a minute left.
After John Carroll made a pair of free throws to make the game a one possession contest with 28 seconds left, Kyser (who led the team with 18 points) took the inbounds pass, broke the Blue Streaks' full court press, and delivered with a three-point play to give Capital a five-point cushion and the championship. Niekamp paced CU with 10 rebounds and added 11 points off the bench, while Mitchell was another key reserve with 12 points and seven boards. Alge had a balanced day with nine points, three rebounds and three assists.
Kyser and Alge were named to the OAC All-Tournament Team, with Alge being selected as the tournament's MVP.
"Brian was MVP of the OAC tournament because he brought that leadership to the table," Goodwin said. "That season spring-boarded the success for the next two seasons."
Capital Claims Outright OAC Regular Season Championship in 2008
The Capital men's basketball team celebrated their 100th season in style, winning an outright OAC regular season championship with a 24-6 record (16-2 in OAC regular season play) that included a 92-70 win over Bethany (W. Va.) in the NCAA First Round.
The trio of senior Steve Kyser and juniors Nate Stahl and Ryan Wood spearheaded CU's attack. Kyser paced Capital with an average of 13.4 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per contest en route to being named to the All-Region Third Team.
Stahl had one of the finest seasons in Crusader history, tallying 13.2 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, 30 steals, and an astounding 62 treys (44.3 percent accuracy) on his way to being named an All-OAC First Team and All-American selection. Stahl was also honored as the OAC Player of the Year.
Wood was the final piece of Capital's three-headed monster, averaging 12.6 points per game and hitting a team best 64 treys.
Perennial starter Ben Gunn was on target all year, hitting nearly 61 percent of his shots from the field while swatting a team-high 74 blocks. Sophomore DJ Frazier started 28 games and led the squad with 62 assists, while juniors Casey Brown, Jamie Yoder and Jake Fanning provided quality depth off the bench.
The Crusaders' quest for back-to-back OAC titles was nearly perfect in January and February, as the team compiled a 13-2 regular season record over those two months. Capital also earned an 8-1 road record in the league, including a 99-90 win on January 16 against a Heidelberg team that would finish second to CU in the OAC regular season standings. Wood stymied the Student Princes with a career-high 28 points that included a 4-of-4 mark from beyond the arc. Junior Ross Niekamp added 14 points, while Fanning (11 points) and Kyser (10 points) also reached double-digits in scoring for a Capital team that shot nearly 70 percent (16-of-23) in the second half. Gunn hauled down nine rebounds as CU outrebounded Heidelberg 43-25.
The Crusaders looked to clinch the outright league championship at Otterbein in the regular season finale. No. 8 Capital used their depth to dispatch the Cardinals 87-77 en route to their OAC title. Niekamp led CU with 20 points, while sophomore Ben McGrath tallied 12 points to lead a reserve unit that outscored Otterbein's bench 46-9. Kyser scored 13 points while Frazier and Wood both scored 12 points to round out Capital's five scorers in double figures.
An 18-0 first half run propelled the Crusaders past the Purple Raiders in a 67-54 victory in the OAC Tournament Quarterfinals. With the scored nodded at eight early in the game, Stahl hit four straight shots (including a pair of treys) and Fanning connected on a jump shot to put CU ahead 26-8 with 10:42 left in the first half. CU had reeled off 18 straight points in just 4:12 of action, while Mount Union had missed all six of their shot attempts during that span.
After a Purple Raider run cut Capital's lead to four in the opening minutes of the first half, Stahl's three free throws and a layup by Brown bumped CU's lead back to nine at 50-41 with 9:14 remaining in the game. The Crusaders put the game on ice with an 8-1 run to go up 61-47 with only four minutes left.
Making his first career start was junior forward Quintin Mitchell, who scored a team-high 13 points, while Stahl recorded 12 points for CU. Wood and Niekamp also tallied 10 points apiece in Capital's tournament victory. Kyser recorded six rebounds as CU held a 34-23 rebounding advantage.
Capital was entrenched in an epic battle against Ohio Northern at home in the OAC Tournament Semifinal. Capital took a 53-46 lead midway through the second half on the strength of an 11-2 run to start the half. A big run by the Polar Bears nearly polarized the Crusaders, who found themselves down 69-63 with only two minutes remaining. With ice in their veins, Capital knocked down a pair of treys (the last one by Stahl) to send the game into overtime.
The Crusaders took the lead for good two minutes into extra session when Kyser hit a pair of free throws gave CU a 73-73 lead. The Purple and White ended the game by scoring eight out of the final 11 points.
Stahl's 18 points complimented Wood's game-high 24 points, while Kyser scored eight points while becoming the 28th Crusaders to score over 1,000 career points. Gunn had a solid day by recording team highs in rebounds (nine) and blocks (five), while the Purple and White defense sent the Polar Bear offense into hibernation in overtime by limiting ONU to 25 percent shooting (2-of-8) in the extra session.
Capital's 23-5 record and league championship earned the squad a home game against Bethany in the NCAA First Round.
Trailing 26-20 midway through the first half, CU used the final 10 minutes of the period to pull away from Bethany. Capital would go on to score 11 consecutive points over the next five minutes to take a 31-26 lead with 5:29 left in the first half. After Bethany closed their deficit to three points at 34-31, the Crusaders emphatically embarked on a 16-1 run over the final 4:14 of the half to claim a 50-32 advantage at intermission.
Bethany was bedeviled by six more Crusader points to start the second half, as the visitors found themselves facing an insurmountable 56-32 deficit.
"We made a heck of a run the last 10 minutes of the first half," Goodwin said after the game. "I thought that was the difference in the ballgame. The other 30 minutes were pretty even."
In leading Capital to a school-record 24th victory of the season, Stahl put on a clinic by scoring 25 points that included 7-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Kyser recorded 13 points and a team-high 13 rebounds, while Mitchell (11 points) and Niekamp (10 points) rounded out Capital's leading scorers.
Despite the 20th ranked Crusaders falling in the Second Round to No.1 Hope, Capital had already raised the bar for excellence by compiling one of the most successful seasons in program history.
2009 Crusaders Win School-Record 26 Games En Route to NCAA "Sweet 16"
After back-to-back OAC championships, what could the Capital men's basketball team do for an encore? All they did was win a school-record 26 games en route to advancing to the NCAA "Sweet 16" in 2009.
Nate Stahl etched his name into Capital and NCAA Division III basketball lore, earning All-OAC First Team, All-Region, and All-American honors in 2009 while also being named as the OAC Player of the Year.
Stahl also brought intensity to defense, as he was fifth in the OAC with an average of .81 blocked shots per game.
"It's hard to argue against Nate being one of the best players in school history," Head Coach Damon Goodwin said. "When you look at the numbers, he was the best players on some very good teams."
Fellow senior Ryan Wood joined Stahl, Geron Tate (2002 and 2003) and Jake Beck (2004 and 2005) as an All-OAC performer in the 2000s, while also placing his name next to Tate, Stahl, and Steve Kyser's names as an All-Great Lakes Region performer this decade. Wood also joined fellow seniors Casey Brown and Jake Fanning as Academic All-OAC performers.
Wood was third in the conference in field goal percentage from beyond the arc (46 percent on 67 three-point shots made), and enjoyed consecutive games of 32 and 25-point scoring nights in midseason wins over Mount Union (January 7) and Ohio Northern (January 10).
"Ryan was a great player for us throughout his career," Goodwin said. "If it wasn't for how good Nate was, Ryan probably would have been Player of the Year."
The duo finished their Crusader careers in the top-20 all-time in scoring, as Stahl posted 1,596 points for second all-time while Wood tallied 1,195 for 19th on the list.
While Capital clearly had its chiefs, Goodwin pointed to the team's Indians that made the unit special.
"The beauty of that group was that Nate and Ryan could have a bad game and someone else could step up," Goodwin said.
CU was led in the paint by senior Casey Brown's 7.2 rebounds per game average, the Crusaders paced the OAC in defensive rebounds per game (26.3) and rebounding margin (plus six) per contest.
Classmate Quintin Mitchell was among the leagues best in field goal percentage, as the senior connected on 56.7 percent of his shots. Mitchell was recognized as an All-OAC Honorable Mention performer.
Classmate Jamie Yoder played a key part from a reserve role, as evidenced by his pivotal three-point shot from the left corner with just over a minute remaining in Capital's 81-75 win over John Carroll on December 13 to improve to 7-1 on the season.
Point guard DJ Frazier started 23 contests and made his presence felt by reaching double digits in scoring six times, including a 16 point, 10 rebound and four steal effort against Baldwin-Wallace on December 8. The sophomore recorded 33 steals to go with his 7.6 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game average.
Classmate Adam Johns teamed with senior Ross Niekamp and Brown to form a formidable group in the paint for the Crusaders, as Johns played in all 31 games and reached double figures in scoring five times.
Capital's immense depth was on display at home on January 29 against Wilmington, as the Crusaders' bench outscored the Quakers' reserves 49-25 en route to a 77-74 win and CU's 11th straight victory of the season.
Mitchell posted career-highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, including two crowd-raising dunks in 26 minutes of action. Yoder also came in and added eight points (including 5-of-6 from the free throw line) in Capital's 17th win of the season.
CU improved to a nation's best 11-0 at home with a 77-65 victory over Mount Union on February 11.
Capital hit 30-of-56 shots (.536) from the field and had four players reach double figures in scoring while also holding a 37-20 lead in rebounding.
Stahl led all players with 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field to move into eighth place on the all-time scoring list at Capital with 1,501 career points. Stahl hit three treys and added seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Frazier followed with a season-high 17 points while connecting on 7-of-7 shots from the free throw line. He also finished with five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.
Niekamp had 11 points while classmate Brown tallied his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Crusaders dominated most of the statistical categories in the game with a 46-22 lead at points in the paint, a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers and a 17-4 edge in fast break points.
In their final regular season home game, the seven Capital seniors rallied with a second half comeback to force overtime to defeat rival Otterbein 83-78 in the regular season finale on February 21.
In a thriller that saw 16 lead changes, CU (22-3) overcame a 10-point deficit with 10:42 left in regulation to improve their Ohio Athletic Conference record to 15-3.
"This game was important in many ways. To send the seniors out right, to beat Otterbein, to earn an undefeated record at home (12-0) in the regular season. All of those factors were important to us," Goodwin said after the win.
In a game that featured many key performers, the difference in the outcome came from senior Jake Fanning, who recorded a career-high 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
Defensive pressure was what had been the Crusaders' Achilles' heel for most of the game entering its final stanza. Capital found themselves trailing 39-36 at halftime and 57-47 with less than 11 minutes remaining in regulation.
"They were making big shots and we didn't play good help defense. We knew we had to fix those things in the second half, said senior Nate Stahl after the game, who scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. "We went to a double team to try to force some turnovers and raise the intensity of the game."
The adjustments led to 17 turnovers forced in the second half, igniting an 18-6 Crusader run that spanned 6:22 seconds. Ten of those points were scored by Wood, including a three-point conversion that gave the Crusaders a 65-63 advantage with 3:36 remaining. Wood finished with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Another major cog during the Crusader run was the play of Mitchell, who spearheaded the Crusader attack with eight rebounds and scored nine points.
The Crusaders again found themselves trailing 71-68 with 33 seconds remaining when Fanning stepped to the forefront. Fanning rebounded a Capital miss and was fouled while hitting a layup with 18 seconds left. His successful free throw shot tied the contest and eventually forced overtime.
Capital was trailing once more in overtime, 76-73, when the Crusaders went on a 10-2 jaunt to end the game. Mitchell gave CU their first lead in overtime at 77-76 with a steal and layup with 3:24 remaining in the extra session. The Crusaders took the lead for good at 80-78 on junior Ben McGrath's three-point shot with 2:20 left. Mitchell and Fanning's free throw conversions in the closing minutes iced the contest.
The Crusaders key to victory came in the turnover battle. Capital forced 28 turnovers for the game, which led to 37 fast break points, compared to only 13 forced turnovers and 13 points on CU miscues for the Cardinals.
After dispatching Mount Union 95-58 at home in the OAC Tournament Quarterfinals, the Crusaders gutted out a 63-58 win over a scrappy Ohio Northern team to advance to the OAC Tournament Championship game.
Stahl tallied 12 of his team-high tying 14 points in the first half of play to lead the Purple and White to a 32-22 advantage at halftime.
Mitchell added scored 14 points while connecting on 7-of-11 shots from the floor while pulling down five rebounds. He also recorded one assist, one blocked shot and one key steal with 79 seconds remaining to aid in the victory for Capital.
Niekamp and Frazier both scored eight points each as the Crusaders.
CU looked to be on cruise control after Mitchell's three straight jump shots gave CU a 14-point lead with 18:19 remaining in the game.
A slow, methodical comeback by the Polar Bears cut the Crusaders lead to 45-41 with 9:37 left. After a Capital timeout, Niekamp would score the game's next five points to give CU more of a cushion at 50-41 with just under seven minutes remaining.
An ONU 8-0 run over the next 1:32 and made it a one-point CU lead with only 4:54 remaining. Capital then showed their championship form, as Stahl and Frazier would trade baskets with Ohio Northern to take the CU lead back to three. Even when Ohio Northern cut Capital's lead to two with 1:56 left, Mitchell converted his steal into a layup that was followed by free throws from Fanning and Frazier to give the Crusaders the victory.
Capital received its 11th invitation to the NCAA Tournament, where it hosted Thomas More College in the First Round.
The crowd at The Capital Center was treated to a thriller, as CU would need overtime to upend the Saints 80-77 to advance to the NCAA Second Round.
After trailing 38-36 at halftime, Capital took the lead at 41-40 two and a half minutes into the second half on a short runner by Frazier. After the Saints pushed back in front by one, Mitchell scored on consecutive baskets that put the Crusaders ahead 55-52 with 11:24 left. Johns and Wood both followed with jumpers, and Stahl added a lay-up to give Capital its biggest lead at 61-52 at the 9:19 mark.
After the Saints marched back to cut their deficit to 66-63, Frazier, Fanning, and Wood scored the game's next five points to extend Capital's lead to eight with 2:20 left.
But Thomas More had one more comeback bid left in them, scoring the final eight points of regulation to force overtime.
Tied at 77 in the extra session, Yoder was fouled grabbing a rebound in the backcourt and connected on both of his free throw attempts. The Saints had one last chance to tie the game but missed a three-pointer with eight seconds left. Frazier fought off several Saints for the rebound before being fouled.
Frazier split his free throws, but a half-court 3-point attempt by the Saints hit the front of the rim at the buzzer.
While Stahl scored 16 points and Frazier and Wood each had 11, the star of the game was Johns, who scored a career-high 22 points in the win.
Capital tallied their single season-record 26th win in the NCAA Tournament Second Round game in dramatic fashion against Wooster at The Capital Center on March 7.
After a first half that saw neither team gain much ground, the Crusaders took their biggest lead at 48-40 after Frazier hit a trey from the left corner with 15:51 remaining.
After the Fighting Scots streaked to a 57-52 lead, Johns and Niekamp quickly responded to tie the ballgame up again at 57 with 7:25 left.
Neither team could shake off the other the rest of the way, as Capital led by only three after Wood hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left. Wooster responded yet again, stunning the partisan Crusader crowed with a game-tying trey with 9.1 ticks left.
The stage was now set for Frazier to make one of the most memorable plays in Capital basketball history.
Frazier took the inbounds pass, drove coast-to-coast, and floated a right handed shot over a Fighting Scots defender from the right wing that sunk through the nets as time expired. The clutch shot gave the Crusaders the win, as well as a 14-0 home record at the Capital Center in 2009.
"There's no doubt that was a great basketball game," Goodwin said after the win. "We just made one more play at the end of the game. This team doesn't panic when it gets down."
Crusaders Get Global With Memorable Trips Overseas
The Capital men's basketball team took their act overseas twice in the previous decade, heading to Spain in 2004, as well as Great Britain and Ireland in 2007.
"The trips have been a highlight for our players," Head Coach Damon Goodwin said. "I've always had an interest in seeing other parts of the world, and it's always an educational experience."
From touring Buckingham Palace to taking photos in front of the Tower of Lincoln to posing with guards at St. James Palace, CU has experienced many new aspects of life on their trips.
"We went to a bull fight in Spain, and were also able to see a lot of famous museums and castles. We were also able to go to the Guinness Brewery in Ireland. The team also got to visit Oxford. We had a really neat experience in Spain, where we went to the Canary Islands, and we also went to the top of a volcano," Burgess said.
While the Crusaders cover a substantial amount of ground on their trips, the squad saves enough energy to still take care of business on the court.
"We practice for 10 days before we go on the trip," Goodwin said. "From a basketball standpoint, you're playing professional teams. It's a very casual coaching and playing atmosphere. We were 4-1 in Spain and 5-0 in Ireland and England. It's not your typical in season game. We played professional teams in Spain and England. One of the highlights was when we played the Irish National Under 21 Team."
Goodwin sees a direct correlation in terms of teams having successful seasons after having gone on an overseas trip the previous summer.
"The bonding experience within the team is one of the best parts of the trips," Goodwin said. "You can't help but feel closer to one another after spending 10 days in another part of the world together. One of my most surprising teams was the 2005 team that went to Spain the previous summer. I'm not sure how good we were that season, but they really bonded together on their 2004 trip. They really had an exceptional year because they had become a very close group, and one reason why was that trip. You could say the same thing for the 2008 and 2009 teams. Those trips have made an impact."
Goodwin and the Crusaders kicked off the new decade with a trip to Italy in May of 2010. Capital played four contest while visiting Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome.