The SUNY Plattsburgh women’s soccer team started its home conference schedule last weekend without a win two games into SUNYAC play. The Cardinals had a tall task hosting the then No.16 Geneseo Knights.

Now ranked 15th in the NCAA Division III’s United Soccer Coaches national poll, Geneseo had a slow start against the Cardinals.

Plattsburgh State held the Knights to two shots in a scoreless first half. Meanwhile, the Cards had nine shots in the same period with four corner kicks.

The game shifted toward Geneseo quickly into the second half when senior midfielder Grace Dunnigan netted her second goal of the season 1:15 into the period.

SUNY Plattsburgh was unable to respond with a goal of their own before the Knights followed up with another goal 27 minutes later.

The Cards took two shots after Geneseo’s second goal, but only one was on target and was saved by junior goalkeeper Julia McDonald.

Although disappointed with the loss, sophomore forward Kirsten Villemaire thought the team showed some progression.

“I think we played well as a team,” Villemaire said. “I think we’re starting to connect, and I think that game showed that we were.”

Head coach Tania Armellino said her team was able to keep up with Geneseo for a good portion of the game, but it was some mental mistakes that were costly.

Plattsburgh State played another pair of games back to back this week. Unlike last week, the Cards were on the road. Armellino said fatigue played a role in the first weekend of conference games where the team tied a game and then lost another the following day in double overtime.

This week, Armellino felt the team had a different mindset that helped pull off a win the next day in Brockport.

“We fought to win. I think that was one of the biggest things, fought to the end,” Armellino said.

Then 0-2-1, Plattsburgh State would look for its first conference win of the season against the Golden Eagle.

The Cards came out aggressive on offense to start the game. Plattsburgh State attempted five straight unawasered shots before its first one landed in the back of Brockport’s net. Senior forward Katie Matott corralled a rebound after a shot by Villemaire and took aim at the top of the net for the Cards’ first goal of the game.

Brockport was able to score a goal of its own in the 33rd minute. The two teams traded goals for the rest of the period but none connected.

The second half was mostly scoreless until the final six minutes when Matott followed up with another goal to put SUNY Plattsburgh up 2-1. The Cards were able to hold on to their lead for the final minutes and earned their first conference win of the season.

Plattsburgh State now holds seventh place in the SUNYAC standings with four points.

In between their next conference games this weekend, the Cards played a nonconference game against Clarkson University in Potsdam.

SUNY Plattsburgh lost 2-1 at Hantz Field.

Villemaire surpassed her freshman year totals in goals in assists in the loss. She said she’s gotten more comfortable on the team and the level of play in the SUNYAC.

“Hard work pays off,” she said.

The Cards continue SUNYAC play this weekend when they go on the road to face Potsdam tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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