By Collin Bolebruch
The Plattsburgh Cardinals men’s and women’s lacrosse teams continued their conference season Saturday, April 1. Neither team won its matchup, marking the second-straight SUNYAC loss for both squads.
The women’s team used the home game as an opportunity to dedicate the game to Morgan’s Message, a nationwide organization focused on bringing awareness to athletes’ mental health. Members of the team, Rachel LaMar and Caitlin Nash, were monumental in founding the Plattsburgh chapter of Morgan’s Message.
Plattsburgh (5-4 SUNYAC 1-2) fell to the Geneseo Knights (7-2, SUNYAC 4-0) 3-14 at home. The one-sided loss was uncharacteristic for this year’s Cardinals— a team that put on an impressive display in a win against the Buffalo State Bengals (3-5, SUNYAC 0-3) and lost its lead in the final minutes against the New Paltz Hawks (7-3, SUNYAC 3-1).
Attackers Maddy Garcia and Cynthia Barnosky and midfielder Nash contributed a goal each. Midfielder Emma McLaughlin provided the game’s only assist, and midfielder Caroline Noia led the team in ground balls with four, followed by defender Lillian Gilroy with three.
Goalie Johanna Malone saved five of 14 shots before being pulled, for the first time all season, at the half in favor of Lilla Nease. This is Nease’s first action this season after returning from the women’s hockey season, for which she also plays goalie. Nease saved four of nine shots in her direction.
The Cardinals did not shoot enough to win the game. Combined, the team’s 11 shots was lower than Geneseo’s final score of 14. Three goals on six shots on goal is a notable hit rate, but volume shooting was what did Plattsburgh in.
Geneseo scored 1:03 into the game. Garcia, assisted by McLaughlin, responded 40 seconds later for her first goal of the season. The Knights, a minute later, retook the lead 2-1.
The hasty scoring was not indicative of the rest of the quarter. Geneseo maintained its one-point lead for almost 12 minutes of game time, until the Knights scored with 40 seconds left in the first. Plattsburgh, as it had before, quickly replied and scored 20 seconds later when Nash put the ball in on a free position shot. The Cardinals ended the quarter trailing 2-3.
Cynthia Barnosky evened the score 51 seconds into the second quarter. The tit-for-tat nature of the game ended there, as Geneseo went on to score four goals in 2:17 of game time. The Knights scored twice more in the quarter.
“I think we all got in our heads about what their record has been,” Nash said. “I think that put us off, but I think we definitely realized that after the second quarter.”
Five more goals and a second-half shutout secured the win for Geneseo.
“Mindset is everything. If you come into the game thinking, ‘I hope we win,’ you might actually lose that game. You’re not ready to take on the challenge of how hard that game’s going to become,” Head Coach Kelly Wall said. “We’re in the SUNYAC, it’s not an easy conference.”
Shortly before the game, the team held a brief ceremony to recognise Morgan’s Message and its cause. The club had a sign-up sheet, a posterboard, wristbands and information on a table outside of the field’s press box.
Announcer Brian Savard addressed the club’s cause in support of mental health prior to player introductions. The Cardinals wore Morgan’s Message warmup shirts throughout the game.
The dedication game was the result of hard work by LaMar and Nash, the club’s president and secretary. Morgan’s Message had already had a women’s hockey dedication game, but to have one for their own sport was extra special.
Nash said it was good to recognize the game was about “more than just the sport,” and she felt like she was playing for “something bigger” than herself. She gave LaMar credit for the work she put into the dedication game.
“It was such an honor. Even during the national anthem, I was getting emotional just seeing everything playing out,” LaMar said. “It definitely really meant a lot to me. That was really great to see happen.”
The Cards beat the non-conference Utica Pioneers (4-5) 13-12 in overtime on the road. Attacker Kate Kennedy led the team in goals with three and McLaughlin had three assists. First-year attacker Erica Dickinson scored the game-winning goal and Nease was in the net for the whole game, saving 10 of 22 shots.
Plattsburgh stays on the road for its April 7 matchup against the Brockport Golden Eagles (3-5, SUNYAC 2-1). The Golden Eagles sit alongside the Cardinals in the middle of the conference standings. Beating Brockport would put Plattsburgh a step ahead of the pack and create momentum for the remaining five SUNYAC games.
The Cardinals (2-8, SUNYAC 0-2) lost to the Oswego Lakers (4-2, SUNYAC 2-0) 11-15 on the road. Plattsburgh improved from last week’s nine-point margin of defeat, but still remains winless in conference play. The Cards held a lead just once, but pulled within two points in the fourth quarter.
Attacker John Eiseman, the season’s top goal-scorer, led the Cardinals in goals with five, followed by midfielder and team captain Owen Lorenzetti with three. Three other Cards scored one goal, including midfielder Séan Ronan’s first of the season. Attacker Mike Walsh was one of four Cardinals to record assists, but the only one to have multiple, with three. Walsh leads the team for the season.
Defenders Mike Lamitie and season-leader Julian Pigliavento had three ground balls each, followed by defender Chris Falborn and goalie Dan Clements with two. Clements was in the goal for all 60 minutes, saving 17 of 33 shots.
After almost ten minutes of a 0-0 stalemate to start the game, Plattsburgh drew first blood when Eiseman put it past Oswego’s Aiden Kenyon. The Lakers ended the quarter with two goals in eight seconds and struck again 20 seconds into the second, taking a quick 3-1 lead. Oswego ended the half leading 7-3.
The Lakers outscored the Cardinals 4-3 in the third quarter and led by a game-high six points before another Eiseman goal in the final minute added a tally to Plattsburgh’s column.
The Cards went on a three-goal streak in the first eight minutes of the fourth to pull within two points with a score of 9-11. The Lakers responded with five goals in the final six minutes to send Plattsburgh home.
“What we’re going to have to do is not let other teams go on runs. We’re going to have to have a defensive stop, maybe get offensive runs, get the momentum shifting our way,” Eiseman said. “These little free goal runs the opponent teams keep going on are what’s killing us, making us have to dig out of a hole.”
The Cardinals hosted the No. 8 St. Lawrence Saints (10-1) 4-19 in a non-conference game. No players scored more than once and Clements saved 20 shots. The loss won’t have a significant impact on the SUNYAC playoff picture, and could serve to prepare the team for tougher opponents.
Plattsburgh hosts the Geneseo Knights (8-3, SUNYAC 2-0) April 8 for its first home conference game of the season. The Knights stand at second in the conference, making for a tough opponent. A Plattsburgh win would not only be its first SUNYAC win of the season, but also another opportunity to show the Cardinals can rumble with the best in the conference as it did in Oswego.