After capturing a victory in Elmira that completed a five-game road stint to begin the season, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team returned to its home pitch Wednesday and didn’t disappoint.

The Cardinals (3-2-1, 0-0-0 SUNYAC) defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 3-0 and controlled the game well. Sarah Haight, Madeline Saccocio and Anissa Hartmann found the back of the net for PSUC, and Nichole Gibson, reigning SUNYAC defensive player of the week, picked up her third consecutive shutout.

PSUC head coach Tania Armellino was excited to be playing in Plattsburgh after the Card’s road trip and stressed how comfortable the team feels on its home field.

“The girls have handled the road like champions, but there’s no place like home,” Armellino said. “It’s your turf. It’s where you play, it’s where your locker room is and it’s where your pride is.”

Armellino said the Cards are a technical team that possesses the ball well and have a number of players who utilize their speed and look to beat opponents off the dribble. She believes playing at home suits her team’s skills, and the players agree.

“Being on our turf that we play on every day gives us an advantage,” senior midfielder Kelly Siry said. “We know the field’s size, we know how the ball moves on it and we know how to work it to our abilities.”

PSUC feels comfortable when they play on their home pitch and wants to show how hard the team has been working.

“We are all excited to play at home and have the support of our school behind us,” sophomore Sarah Haight said, “and I think the whole atmosphere of the Cardinal Country banner in the background is constant inspiration.”

While the Cards were thrilled to return home, coach Armellino emphasized it’s important that her squad take the season one game at a time and focus on the game at hand.

This is exactly what the Cards did against Elmira.

In the first half, PSUC possessed the ball well and outshot the Soaring Eagles 14-9 but couldn’t capitalize on any of their scoring chances. The score was 0-0 at halftime, but once the second half began, it didn’t take long for the Cards to take the lead.

In the 48th minute, Cassidy Clavet put PSUC on the board after receiving an excellent pass from Devin McMahon who followed her first assist with another 23 seconds later when Anissa Hartmann found the back of the net to give the Cards a 2-0 advantage.

Three minutes later, Hartmann tallied her second goal when she received a skillful cross from sophomore Madeline Saccocio.

Later in the half, Saccocio scored PSUC’s fourth and final goal, and she appreciates being able to contribute to her team.

“I think it’s one of the best feelings when you see the ball hit the back of the net,” Saccocio said. “Knowing that you’re helping your team get that much closer to a win is amazing.”

PSUC goalkeeper Nichole Gibson kept Elmira off the scoreboard making eight saves and preserved the shutout for the team.

The Cardinals will play at home again Saturday when they face Skidmore College at 1 p.m., and the coaching staff and players are maintaining the motivation they started the season with.

“We all want to accomplish more than we did last year, and that’s our goal as coaches and players,” assistant coach Frantzy Noze said. “All the players are committed, and the senior class wants to leave out on top.”

Email Joey LaFranca at joseph.lafranca@cardinalpointsonline.com

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