The SUNY Plattsburgh women’s soccer team comes back after a strong 2018 season where they finished 13-6 and made a SUNYAC tournament semifinal appearance where they lost 2-0 to SUNY Geneseo.

The Cardinals kicked off their season at home against Castleton University in non conference play where they won 2-1.

Senior midfielder Rachel Moran and sophomore forward Kirsten Villemaire netted SUNY Plattsburgh’s two goals in the second period.

Freshman goalkeeper Julia Ennis was named PrestoSports Defensive Player of the Week by the SUNYAC after her first collegiate start where she recorded seven saves.

The Cards are back home tomorrow at 5 p.m. to play against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which won its first game of the season and tied its second.

The Cardinals had a rough start in the SUNYAC conference last season by starting their conference schedule with three straight losses. However, they turned it around by winning eight games in a row with six games in conference, one game out of conference and one in the first round of the SUNYAC tournament.

“It couldn’t have gone any better in terms of battling our way into the top four of the SUNYAC,” women’s soccer head coach Tania Armellino said. “We finished real strong. We got our first national ranking. We struggled but turned the corner and won eight games in a row.”

The Cardinals hosted the quarterfinals game against Oneonta and beat them 1-0 to advance to the semifinals before they were defeated by Geneseo 2-0, who went on to become the champions.

Two years ago, after the 2017 season, the Cards were left with a seven-player gap to fill from graduating seniors. The team brought in 11 new freshman players during the 2018 season.

“Looking back at last season, pulling together a big group of new players,” Armellino said. “couldn’t be prouder that they battled their way to the end and up to the semifinals.”

Armellino said the Cards will keep things similar in terms of starting frontline and overall gameplay.

“We are not looking to reinvent or change much,” Armellino said. “Just build upon the experience of last year and incorporate some of our new talent through our freshman.”

The Cardinals hope to repeat another winning record this year despite losing key pieces from last season in four seniors. This year, they will be adding eight freshmen to their roster.

“The heart is there, the determination is there more this year than it was last year,” senior captain forward Katie Matott said. “We worked all summer for this. We all know what we want, and we are all on the same page [more than] last year.”

In terms of last season, Matott said the team had the heart last season but grew weary as the season went on. She feels confident there won’t be many problems regarding fatigue during the 2019 season.

“There’s a lot of young people coming in, but they’re working their a– off,” Matott said.

Plattsburgh State freshman midfielder Nicole Kingsley aims to get on her teammates’ level this upcoming season.

“As a team, I obviously want to win it all. I also want to get to know the players and make an impact,” Kingsley said.

Armellino and the Cards are shooting for the championship this season using talent, heart and teamwork.

“We plan to be successful,” Armellino said. “Not only do we want to finish at the top of the conference, we want to win th

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