The Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team returned to the site of its 2017 SUNYAC semifinal defeat Wednesday, once again falling to the Geneseo Knights, this time 2-0.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get out on the front foot,” head coach Tania Armellino. “Geneseo came out hard, they came out strong and they put us under pressure. We didn’t handle that well.”

The fourth-seed Cardinals came out flat against the first-seed Knights, and that proved problematic.

“We tried to play our best, but we didn’t really use our flanks a lot,” senior defender Jessica Mangieri said. “I think if we had, we would have gotten behind their defence and scored some goals.”

Geneseo scored early in the second half, in the 57th minute. After a tiring first half, PSUC only registered three shots in the second while the Knights scored twice.

“They had been hounding us a lot in the first half,” Adams said. “We were testing their defense as well, but I think they were more fit as a whole team. We were fighting until the end, we were just exhausted.”

The loss capped off PSUC’s season with 13-6 overall record and a 6-3 record in conference.

The semifinal defeat fell short of the team’s ultimate goal but was still a major accomplishment.

The Cards began their conference schedule with an 0-3 record before rattling off eight wins in a row, seven of which were conference tilts.

Both Armellino and her players found pride in that feat.

“We had to win every game and climb ourselves out of the whole, and I’m so proud of them,” Armellino said. “They really did turn the corner and take on that pressure.”

Graduate student goalie Taylor Adams, the most veteran member of the team, was happy to be a part of it on her way out.

“It was amazing,” Adams said. “It was the best mid-season turnaround I’ve ever seen. It was just a great run; it was very fun to be on.”

It was a season that saw 12 new freshmen join the team, a massive change for any team to adapt to.

“We had Allison Seidman, Kirsten Villemaire and Erin Metzger that came in and played a ton of minutes,” Armellino said of her freshman crew. “Even Erin, as a defensive center-midfielder, played a lot of those unsung hero minutes. It’s a spot where you don’t get a ton of stats, and we asked her to play a major role very quickly.It was really important that they felt that they could come in and make a difference, and the fact that they did was just huge for us.”

And a season that saw 4 players leave the team, with Adams, Mangieri, senior forward Jess Reid and senior defenseman Michelle Nowak all departing.

“We say, ‘It’s a small class, but a mighty one,’” Armellino said. ”They all grew so much in their time here, earned those starting roles and really had such an impact on the defensive side of the ball. We’ll always feel that loss.”

But Armellino is confident that reinforcements will be ready.

“A lot of freshmen walked through the door; there were 12 freshmen to start, and that was almost half our team,” Armellino said. “For them, they had to get used to so much. Now, at the end of the season, I’m really excited for the future.”

However, they’ll have earn their keep.

“They’ll have to step up and work hard,” Mangieri said. “Now that we’re out, that’s a spot open for them, but they have to earn it.”

Email Ben Watson at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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