It was all cheers and celebrations in the Plattsburgh State men’s lacrosse team’s locker room Wednesday. The team’s 13-8 win over the Potsdam Bears clinched the second seed in the SUNYAC tournament for the Cardinals. PSUC had to hold off a comeback from Potsdam to seal its spot in the postseason.
The Cards’ offense was quick to the punch by scoring in the opening minute. Sophomore midfielder James Sherwood netted his 10th goal of the season to put PSUC on the board.
The Cards held a 7-3 lead over the Bears heading into the second half. Goals by Potsdam’s Sean Coe, Cam Talcott and Keenan O’Gorman later in the third quarter cut into PSUC’s lead.
Senior defensive midfielder Nick Della Ratta said the team’s poise kept Potsdam at bay.
“It was all composure that brought us back and help get us through that run,” Della Ratta said.
Two unanswered goals by the Cards at the end of the third quarter and three more in the fourth buried the Bears by a score of 13-8.
The game was chippy throughout. The referees handed out 28 penalties between both teams. Potsdam was a matchup the Cards were looking forward to all season.
“I think if anybody saw that game, they can tell there is no love lost between those two teams,” head coach Joe May said. “It’s been a while since they’ve beaten us, and we’re going to keep it that way. I don’t plan on that changing next year, too.”
Potsdam’s 8-7 regular season win in 2014 was the last time the Bears beat PSUC.
Clinching the second seed gives the Cards a home playoff game in the first round, a goal the team had in mind all season.
“Every season we go in to it saying we want that home playoff game, so losing to Cortland, we knew we had to lock our eyes on that two seed,” Della Ratta said. “We practiced for that. We were practicing all week for it, and we were ready to go.”
PSUC closes its regular season schedule against Brockport next Wednesday. It’ll be Senior Day for the Golden Eagles, so the Cards are expecting a challenge.
“They’re gonna be looking to come out swinging,” freshman Justin Rocovich said. “We got to come out and make a statement and say that we deserve the two seed.”
Although next Wednesday’s game won’t change anything in the standings, PSUC plans to close out the season with strong intensity.
“We’re going to approach it like any other SUNYAC game,” Della Ratta said. “You gotta go into it ready to play because anyone can beat anyone in these games.”
Looking ahead to the postseason, the Cards will face either Oneonta or Oswego. PSUC beat both teams in close wins. The Cards beat Oneonta 12-11 on April 10, and beat the Oswego in triple overtime 7-6 three days later.
The biggest challenge the team faces, Della Ratta said, is its composure heading into the playoffs.
“Whether we’re up to or down three, it doesn’t matter,” Della Ratta said. “We have to be level-headed, and we have to have that composure because that’s what hold you into those big games.”