Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Cardinals off to best start

The Plattsburgh State lacrosse team is off to its best start in the history of the program.

PSUC is moving the ball well, has a strong team chemistry, a large group of both talented goal creators and finishers, and a happy coach whose team has completely bought in to his system and is flourishing within its ideals.

Head coach Ryan Cavanagh said he is thrilled about how the season is progressing, but is clearly recognizing that there are games to be played and won and feats to accomplish.

“We’re doing well. If we were undefeated, I’d be a little more pleased,” Cavanagh said. “The team is finally coming together, finally gelling and that is the most important part.”

The Cardinals are currently ranked second in the SUNYAC after a 11-10 loss to Oneonta Wednesday. They currently possess a record of 9-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The loss to Oneonta on Wednesday marked the first SUNYAC loss of the season for the Cards. With a game against SUNYAC-leading Cortland, this weekend PSUC will have the chance to put themselves back in first place.

PSUC’s offense is dominating right now, leading the SUNYAC in almost every offensive statistical category there is. This includes goals, assists, points, shots, shot percentage, shots on goal, man up goals, and man-up scoring percentage.

This offensive barrage has left opposing defenses defenseless, is a brutally strong attack line and midfielders who have been setting them up.
Junior attackman Jack Felter is currently second in the SUNYAC in scoring with 27 goals. He said that when the played stick to the offense Cavanagh has created, they are at their best.

“We have bought into our system and it is definitely paying off and showing,” Felter said. “It is clear because we’ve won five, six games in a row now.”

While the offense tends to get most of the glory, the defense and goalie are both doing their jobs to provide solid protection and keep the score low.

Junior goalie Matt Massaria is top three in the conference in all three goalie statistics — goals against average, saves percentage and saves per game.
Cavanagh highlighted another key player on the team — senior Brendan Cefalu. Cefalu had not played much in his time on the Cards prior to this season, but he put his struggles with staying on the team and the lack of playing time the last few years behind him this season, and the benefits have become clear. He is playing and he is starting.

Now at defensive midfield, solid performances against Bowdoin and Brockport confirmed Cavanagh’s idea of giving the senior a chance. Cefalu himself could not hide his excitement.

“I could not even tell you how happy I am,” Cefalu said. “I have been playing, quitting, playing, quitting. Then I got the opportunity to play, then got sick, then I got hurt, and finally got the opportunity to play again and played well.”

Stories like that are always present on teams, and they are can be the driving force behind a team’s success. Cavanagh seems to have a knack for giving guys a chance, and it would seem in this case it has paid off.

The Cards have now suffered their first in-conference loss of the season. With a game against Cortland this weekend, they have a chance to cement themselves as the best team in the conference and sit atop the SUNYAC rankings again.

Email Bailey Carlin at bailey.carlin@cardinalpointsonline.com

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